In Picture: After Billions Spent on Marketing, With Vista 11 Hype and Vapourware, No Real Gains for Windows

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Windows at 5:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The hype started this past summer

Windows share
Windows market share as a function of time from 2009 until October 16th (today). Raw data [ODS] available.

Summary: The very latest figures from Web usage show that it’s hardly even a blip on the radar; Windows continues bleeding to death, not only in servers

[Meme] [Teaser] Double-Dipping Friedrich Rödler

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mozart Not Sure if public sector or private sector

Summary: As we shall see tomorrow night, the EPO regime was supported by a fair share of corrupt officials inside the Administrative Council

The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Portugal

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia
  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IX: More Holes Than Swiss Cheese
  10. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock
  11. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” – Battistelli’s Swiss Apprentice?
  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection
  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Spain
  14. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Battistelli’s Iberian Facilitators – Portugal

Campinos with Maria Leonor Mendes da Trindade

Campinos with Maria Leonor Mendes da Trindade, his deputy and successor at the Portuguese INPI.

Summary: How illegal “Strike Regulations” and regressive ‘reforms’ at the EPO, empowering Benoît Battistelli to the detriment of the Rule of Law, were ushered in by António Campinos and by Portugal 5 years before Campinos took Battistelli’s seat (and power he had given himself)

In this part we will take a look at the Portuguese delegation on the EPO’s Administrative Council which helped to rubber-stamp Battistelli’s “Strike Regulations” in 2013.

At the time in question, the delegation was headed by Maria Leonor Mendes da Trindade, Director of the Portuguese INPI. Trindade was assisted by her deputy Marco Dinis, who was head of the INPI’s “Department of Information and Promotion of Innovation”.

Trindade had been Campinos’ deputy when he was in charge of the Portuguese INPI between 2005 and 2010. She “inherited” his position when he moved to Alicante in October 2010 to take up his new job at the head of the EU trademark agency OHIM/EUIPO.

Maria Leonor Mendes da Trindade and her deputy Marco Dinis
The Portuguese delegation in 2013: Maria Leonor Mendes da Trindade and her deputy Marco Dinis.

In the context of the EPO’s Administrative Council, Trindade was very much a “captured delegate” like her Spanish counterpart García-Escudero. She gave unquestioning support to Battistelli and was regarded as one of his loyal “pet chinchillas” on the organisation’s governing body.

“In the context of the EPO’s Administrative Council, Trindade was very much a “captured delegate” like her Spanish counterpart García-Escudero. She gave unquestioning support to Battistelli and was regarded as one of his loyal “pet chinchillas” on the organisation’s governing body.”Trindade’s career as head of the Portuguese INPI proceeded in a relatively uneventful manner until August 2018 when she suddenly came to grief due to a catastrophic breakdown of the INPI’s IT systems.

The IT system collapse was caused by a heatwave in Lisbon. Not only was this a PR disaster for the national “IP” office. It also created a great deal of legal uncertainty because between 13 August and 4 September 2018 the publication of the “Industrial Property Bulletin” was disrupted. [PDF]

The “Industrial Property Bulletin” is the official gazette listing newly registered patents and trademarks and other such information relating to “IP rights” and it is an essential source of information for patent and trademark applicants and their legal representatives.

“Even after the IT systems were restored to operation, there were ongoing problems and another serious breakdown is reported to have occurred a few months later in December 2018.”The malfunctioning of the INPI’s IT systems [PDF] also prevented B2B communications, payments through current accounts, online file inspection, as well as the transmission [PDF] of email messages confirming receipt of electronic filings.

Even after the IT systems were restored to operation, there were ongoing problems and another serious breakdown is reported to have occurred a few months later in December 2018.

Shortly afterwards it was reported in the Portuguese media that Trindade and her deputy Dinis had accepted responsibility for the INPI’s “IT meltdown” and had already submitted their resignations to the Ministry of Justice in November 2018. The resignations were accepted by the Ministry in January 2019.

“Following her resignation from the INPI, Trindade managed to obtain a position as a “technical specialist” at the Portuguese Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition.”The IT problems at the INPI didn’t disappear with the departure of Trindade and Dinis. As a matter of fact, in March 2019, the Portuguese “IP” office was still reporting serious disruptions to its IT services. [PDF]

Following her resignation from the INPI, Trindade managed to obtain a position as a “technical specialist” at the Portuguese Ministry of Economy and Digital Transition. [PDF]

She later moved to a similar position at the Ministry of Planning and Infrastructure and in 2020 she was appointed as an “assistant” or “deputy” in the Office of the Minister of Planning and Infrastructure.

“…after her fall from grace due to the IT disaster at the national “IP” office, Trindade is probably grateful to have any kind of job in the Portuguese public sector.”According to official Portuguese records, Trindade’s latest post comes with a monthly after-tax salary of €2,201.89. [PDF]

It’s a far cry from the mouth-watering five-digit monthly remuneration that her erstwhile boss Campinos gets as head of the EPO. And it’s probably less than what she would have earned as head of the INPI. But after her fall from grace due to the IT disaster at the national “IP” office, Trindade is probably grateful to have any kind of job in the Portuguese public sector.

“With connections like that, it can’t have been too difficult for Dinis to bounce back from the little setback that derailed his career at the INPI in 2018.”Trindade’s deputy Marco Dinis seems to have done better for himself. From June 2019 to October 2020 he held a position as a “Seconded National Expert” at the EUIPO in Alicante. After that he was appointed as a “Principal Technical Attaché” with the Portuguese Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels.

That’s quite impressive for someone who had to resign from his previous position for failing to ensure that the national “IP” office had a fault-tolerant IT system with adequate temperature regulation.

However, it’s not entirely surprising because Dinis is known to be well-connected to António Campinos and his "faithful acolyte", João Negrão. Those connections go back to the days when Campinos was the boss at the Portuguese INPI between 2005 and 2010 and Negrão was in charge of the INPI’s Department of International Relations.

“In a later part of the series we will return to the Mediterranean region to consider the Italian delegation.”For example, it is known that Dinis participated with Campinos and Negrão in a meeting which took place between the INPI, the WIPO Academy and the Lisbon Institute of Economics and Management (ISEG) in June 2008. The purpose of this meeting was to establish a cooperation agreement between the three institutions for the creation of a postgraduate course in “Innovation Management and Industrial Property”.

With connections like that, it can’t have been too difficult for Dinis to bounce back from the little setback that derailed his career at the INPI in 2018.

Marco Dinis together with António Campinos and João Negrão
Marco Dinis together with António Campinos and João Negrão a meeting which took place between the INPI, the WIPO Academy and the Lisbon ISEG in June 2008.

That concludes our look at Battistelli’s Iberian facilitators who helped to rubber-stamp his “Strike Regulations” in June 2013.

“[Italy] was the only one of France’s traditional allies from that part of Europe to withhold its support from Battistelli’s efforts to crush the fundamental rights of EPO staff.”In a later part of the series we will return to the Mediterranean region to consider the Italian delegation. This was the only one of France’s traditional allies from that part of Europe to withhold its support from Battistelli’s efforts to crush the fundamental rights of EPO staff.

“…we plan to take an in-depth look at the controversial head of the Austrian delegation, the notorious “double-dipper” Friedrich Rödler.”In the next part, our attention will shift to Central Europe and we will examine the role played by the EPO’s third host state, the Federal Republic of Austria.

More specifically, we plan to take an in-depth look at the controversial head of the Austrian delegation, the notorious “double-dipper” Friedrich Rödler.

Links 16/10/2021: SparkyLinux Turns 10 and Sculpt OS 21.10

Posted in News Roundup at 3:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Is Linux a Waste of Time and Should You Stick to Windows?

        But Linux is not bad just because it’s different. Far from being a waste of time, Linux can be one of the most rewarding operating systems to learn, because once you gain knowledge about how it works, that knowledge lasts for a long time.

        No one company has the authority to substantially change how all of Linux works from one release to the next. So if you want a computer you can learn and stick with for a long time to come, Linux can be more than worth the investment of your time.

    • Server

      • Announcing Istio 1.11.4

        This release contains bug fixes to improve robustness. This release note describes what’s different between Istio 1.11.3 and Istio 1.11.4

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Developers finally get Linux running on an Apple M1-powered Mac [Ed: Another older one]

        This is a big deal because Apple uses a bunch of proprietary tech that doesn’t play nice with you if you’re trying to run an operating system that isn’t macOS on one of its computers. Some adventurous developers have been trying ways to open up Apple’s closed M1 ecosystem for a while now, and Asahi Linux might have just cracked the code.

        The M1 is Apple’s custom Arm-based SoC (system on chips) started showing on Macs in 2020 after ditching Intel’s x86 silicon chip. The M1 is the most powerful chip Apple’s ever made, so you can imagine why some folks might want to run Linux and, let’s say, install Proton, which would turn their Mac into a killer gaming PC.

      • Realtek 802.11ax WiFi Driver “rtw89″ Queued Ahead Of Linux 5.16 – Phoronix

        Arriving in the wireless-drivers-next branch this week is the “rtw89″ driver as a Realtek-contributed open-source 802.11ax WiFi driver.

        This new rtw89 Linux Wifi driver is initially for supporting the Realtek 8852AE 802.11ax ASIC. A new driver was developed rather than extending the existing Realtek wireless kernel drivers since the register address ranges have been totally refined, new formats, and other fundamental changes over existing Realtek wireless chipsets.

      • SALSA Back In Development As A Small ALSA Library For Linux Systems – Phoronix

        Linux sound subsystem maintainer Takashi Iwai of SUSE is back to hacking on SALSA, the “small ALSA” library that he started a decade ago but hadn’t seen a new release in six years or any code activity for the past four years… until this week.

    • Applications

      • 7 Best Free Linux Desktop Search Engines

        Desktop search is a software application which searches the contents of computer files, rather than searching the internet. The purpose of this software is to enable the user to locate information on their computer. Typically, this data includes emails, chat logs, documents, contact lists, graphics files, as well as multimedia files including video and audio.

        Searching a hard disk can be painfully slow, especially bearing in mind the large storage capacities of modern hard disks. To ensure considerably better performance, desktop search engines build and maintain an index database. Populating this database is a system intensive activity. Consequently, desktop search engines will carry out indexing when the computer is not being used.

      • The 5 Best Remote Desktop Clients for Linux

        Do you want to control a computer you don’t have physical access to? Perhaps you’re assisting a non-technical friend with their computer over voice call and want better control over their system.

        The solution to all these problems is a remote desktop client. On Linux, you can find a plethora of free and open-source remote desktop apps that allow you to establish connections and access a remote computer efficiently. But which one works the best and has superior functionalities to the rest? Let’s find out.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Steps To Install Rocky Linux-8.4 With Screenshots | LinuxTeck

        Rocky Linux is a Community-based Enterprise Operating System, officially released by Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) which is a free support platform with a complete binary-compatible release using the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system source code. The advantage of Rocky Linux is that it is completely free to install on any 64-bit x86 and ARM64 (aarch64) system.

      • Tips to be more efficient in a Linux Terminal – ByteXD

        The life of Linux users became a lot easier with the advent of X Environments (Graphical User Interfaces). Many tasks can now be performed very quickly in these environments using simple clicks.

        Does this mean that there is no need for a command-line interface anymore or to remember text commands and their parameters?

        No, the terminal is the bread & butter of any Linux user worth his salt.

        In this tutorial, you will learn a few tips and tricks to work efficiently with Linux commands.

      • Hardware profiling for kernel module loading

        EasyOS, when on a portable media such as a USB-stick, can be booted on different computers. For this to work, Easy needs to remember any settings for the particular hardware being booted on, especially for video and audio.

      • Install and Set-up ELK Code Physics Software on Ubuntu [Ed: New update]
      • Vulnerable docker environment for learning to hack
      • ThinkPad P15v Gen1, Xorg and a Samsung QHD Display

        Wasted quite some hours until I found a working Modeline in this stack exchange post so the ThinkPad works with a HDMI attached Samsung QHD display.

      • Data center admins: Learn how to run a basic vulnerability scan on your Linux servers with Nessus

        Make sure the Linux servers in your data center are free from vulnerabilities by scanning them immediately using Nessus.

      • Case files of a TSE: Would you have the time?

        This is the first part of a series that attempts to showcase the kind of work that SUSE Support does and how we help customers resolve issues when running SUSE Products. The cases that are selected will be based on real cases. However, all details will be fully anonymized and stripped of identifying marks.

        This is a case where the time from when I took it to when it was resolved happened to be about half an hour. Being half an hour late might not mean a lot to some people, but computer systems are much more sensitive to time and need it to be accurate and synchronized. That’s why it’s crucial to have a solid NTP (Network Time Protocol) infrastructure. This case shows how important attention to detail can be when troubleshooting a system.

      • Looking at the outlying data points

        The solution was great: they came up with something that looked like a server for airflow purposes, but which didn’t actually do anything. It was basically two very big paperboard pizza boxes side by side. They would then slip that into the rack right below the last server, or any time they pulled one from somewhere higher in the stack. This would keep the airflow doing its thing happily for whatever was right above it.

        This rolled out and my hot spots disappeared. Fantastic!

      • How To Install OpenBoard on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install OpenBoard on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, OpenBoard is an open-source cross-platform teaching software for interactive whiteboards designed primarily for use in schools and universities. It is so rich in terms of features that it even allows you to record live sessions with audio while making use of the whiteboard. Other than that, you are even allowed to import files to be displayed on your whiteboard while it is shared with different viewers.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the OpenBoard open source cross-platform teaching software on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to configure SSH to use a non-standard port with SELinux set to enforcing – TechRepublic

        Switching the SSH listening port is an easy way to help secure remote login on your Linux servers. But when SELinux is involved, you have to take a few extra steps. Jack Wallen shows you how.


        On Linux distributions that don’t use SELinux, this process is quite easy. However, if SELinux is involved, you can’t simply change the port, without letting the security system in on your little secret.

        And that’s exactly what I’m going to do here, configure Fedora 35 to use port 33000 for incoming SSH traffic. This same process will work on any Linux distribution that uses SELinux (such as RHEL, Alma Linux and Rocky Linux).

      • How to Extract (Unzip) Tar Gz File in Linux – ByteXD

        In this article, we will explain how to extract a tar.gz file using the tar command.

        Tar is an abbreviation for tape archive, and it is one of the most commonly used commands for dealing with compressed archive files.

        Gz is an abbreviation for gunzip. It is a particular compression algorithm. Most Linux distributions have the tar command pre-installed. The tar program compresses and extracts files using various methods.

        Tar supports a broad range of compression methods, including gzip, bzip2, xz, lzip, and others.

      • How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        The name KDE comes from “K Desktop Environment”. For those not familiar with KDE Desktop, it is a free, open-source desktop environment. It provides Linux users on various distributions an alternative graphical interface to customize their desktop environment and applications for everyday use enhancement.

        In Fedora’s case, this is Gnome. Besides the graphical enhancements and changes, it is also a lightweight, fast, smooth environment with superior performance compared to native shipped desktops with some Linux Distributions. However, with Fedora 35 having the latest Gnome 41, the choice will come down to personal preference overall.

        At the end of the tutorial, you will have learned how to install KDE Desktop Environment on your Fedora 35 system.

      • How to Install MATE Desktop 1.26 on Ubuntu 21.10 Impish Indri – LinuxCapable

        For those not familiar with MATE Desktop Environment, it is the continuation of GNOME 2. It is famous for being lightweight, fast, and stable that runs on Linux and most BSD operating systems. MATE is also an excellent choice for a lower-end system or those looking to remain efficient on system resources. Also, a dedicated Ubuntu MATE edition exists for this desktop environment, enticing users to switch from Ubuntu altogether.

        In Ubuntu 21.10 Impish Indri, MATE desktop 1.26 is the default version that brings Wayland support extension, which reaches applications in the environment such as ATRIL, System Monitor, Pluma Text Editor, and Terminal Emulator amongst the top changes. For a complete list of changes, visit the changelog wiki.

        In the following tutorial, you will have learned how to install MATE Desktop 1.26 on your Ubuntu 21.10 operating system.

      • Export Logs to a File with Journalctl – Putorius

        For old hats like me journalctl seems unnecessarily complicated. Back in the olden days (just a few years ago) system and service logs were all kept in files. It was quite easy to grep through these files for information you wanted. Of course journalctl has similar functionality built in, but old habits die hard. So let’s take a look at how to export logs to a file with journalctl.

        There are many reasons why someone might wants to export logs. Maybe you are an old hat like me and just prefer to manipulate logs from a simple text file. Or maybe you want import the logs into a different program, or use a custom Python log aggregator?

        If you are new to journalctl I recommend first reading Viewing Logs with Journalctl. It contains a bunch of great information that can also be used when exporting logs to a file.

      • How to Install or Enable Cockpit on AlmaLinux 8 – LinuxCapable

        Cockpit is a free remote server manager that is lightweight and easy to use for GNU/Linux servers. Cockpit is a web-based graphical interface for servers intended for people new to Linux to the experts such as sysadmins. Cockpit makes Linux discoverable, allowing anyone using the software to perform tasks such as start containers, administer storage, configure networks, and inspect logs.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Cockpit on your AlmaLinux 8 system.

      • How to install Snap on your Raspberry Pi – Anto ./ Online

        Follow this guide if you want all the benefits Snaps has to offer. This guide will show you how to install Snap on your Raspberry Pi.

      • How to install WPS Office 2019 on a Chromebook in 2021

        Today we are looking at how to install WPS Office 2019 on a Chromebook and some core fonts like Arial and New Times Roman. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to install and set up Gitlab CE Server on Centos 8

        GitLab allows you to host an on-premise Git repository that can be accessed from either your local LAN or (if you have an available public IP address) from outside your company. GitLab is an open-source repository manager based on Rails developed by GitLab Inc. It is a web-based git repository manager that allows your team to collaborate on coding, testing, and deploying applications. GitLab provides several features, including wikis, issue tracking, code reviews, and activity feeds.

        In this guide, we will install the GitLab CE on the CentOS 8 server. We will install the GitLab CE using the ‘omnibus’ package provided by GitLab.

      • Integrate Gitlab with OpenLDAP for Authentication
    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 23 Overview and Where To Download

          Congratulations to KDE community, KDE Plasma 5.23 has been released at Wednesday, 14 October 2021 celebrating the 25th KDE Anniversary! This overview highlights several of its new features and informs you where to download and how to try Plasma quickly on your own computer. Let’s try it together!

        • This week in KDE: Plasma 25th anniversary edition is released!

          But after you read this post, I bet you’ll want to jump straight to Plasma 5.24 already! A lot of good keyboard navigation and Discover-related work was done this week, as well as loads of bugfixes.

          Keep in mind that this blog only covers the tip of the iceberg! Tons of KDE apps whose development I don’t have time to follow aren’t represented here, and I also don’t mention backend refactoring, improved test coverage, and other changes that are generally not user-facing. If you’re hungry for more, check out https://planet.kde.org/, where you can find blog posts by other KDE contributors detailing the work they’re doing.

        • KDE’s Plasma Wayland Session Continues Seeing More Crash Fixes

          This week marked the release of Plasma 5.23 in celebrating 25 years of the KDE desktop project while celebrations didn’t last long with developers already hard at work on the Plasma 5.23.1 point release, feature work for Plasma 5.24, and also improvements to the KDE Applications and KDE Frameworks.

          KDE developer Nate Graham is out this morning with his usual weekly development summary. This week continued seeing a lot of crash fixes and other fixes landing, particularly around the Plasma Wayland experience that has been seeing plenty of work almost weekly.

        • Blasting bugs and passing reviews — Kalendar devlog 19

          Last Sunday, we received our first round of feedback for KDE Review (thanks Albert!) and have spent this week addressing the issues brought up there. These were mainly technical, but we also had some useful UI feedback which we have taken on board and addressed (and are included in this update post).

          You can follow the KDE Review process for Kalendar on the mailing list, or keep tuning in to the weekly updates, where we will let you know how things are going.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

    • Distributions

      • Best Linux distros for Windows users in 2021

        It can be an inundating experience, especially for people coming from proprietary operating systems like Windows. Linux distributions, thanks to their open source nature, offer a lot more access than their closed source cousins, which makes the transition particularly difficult for many users.

        This is where these specialized distros, designed for Windows users, come into the picture. Their objective is to allow users to experience the goodness of Linux while minimizing the learning curve that’s associated when switching to a different operating system. They all take various steps to ensure that the transition is as effortless as possible.

      • How to Stop Distro-Hopping and Find the Perfect Linux Distro for Yourself

        Do you ever find yourself stuck in the never-ending loop of switching between multiple Linux distros for months? Maybe you want to explore all the available options in search of the best, but with so many distros to try, that seems like an impossible task.

        Although as fun it is to install and test new operating systems, settling with a feature-rich Linux distro that fits your needs is far better than going on a wild goose chase.

        Let’s dive deep into distro-hopping, and learn how to put an end to it by finding a perfect Linux distro for yourself.

      • BSD

        • helloSystem, the Mac-like FreeBSD OS, Takes Another Step Towards Full Release

          Most of you have probably never heard of helloSystem before. The project was started by the creator of AppImage, Simon Peter, early last year. Simon’s goal is to create a “friendly Libre Desktop operating system with focus on simplicity, minimalist elegance, and usability”.

          Simon takes inspiration from the simpler operating system of the 80s and 90s, specifically early MacOS, specifically System 1. If you just look at screenshots of the system in action, you may be tempted to say, “I don’t see what the fuss is all about. There are a bunch of Linux distros or themes that look just like MacOS.”

          The project goes beyond merely looking like MacOS, it wants to return to a simpler, easier to use design. According to the website, “helloSystem is a desktop system for creators with a focus on simplicity, elegance, and usability. Its design follows the “Less, but better” philosophy. It is intended as a system for “mere mortals”, welcoming to switchers from the Mac.” You can find out more about Simon’s thoughts on what he plans for helloSystem by watching his presentation at FOSDEM 21.

        • [Old] 64-bit Time on OpenBSD

          Switch time_t, ino_t, clock_t, and struct kevent’s ident and data members to 64bit types. Assign new syscall numbers for (almost all) the syscalls that involve the affected types, including anything with time_t, timeval, itimerval, timespec, rusage, dirent, stat, or kevent arguments. Add a d_off member to struct dirent and replace getdirentries() with getdents(), thus immensely simplifying and accelerating telldir/seekdir. Build perl with -DBIG_TIME.

          Bump the major on every single base library: the compat bits included here are only good enough to make the transition; the T32 compat option will be burned as soon as we’ve reached the new world are are happy with the snapshots for all architectures.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • Debian Family

        • 10 years of SparkyLinux!

          Exactly 10 years ago, in October 2011, we started a work with a new Linux distribution, and on November 4, 2011 the first beta of our system released.

          A bit of history:

          Initially, our project began to live under the name ue17r as Ubuntu Enlightenment17 Remix and was a modification of Xubuntu Linux, from which the standard desktop was removed and replaced by Enlightenment 17.

        • Puppy and EasyOS used in physics lab

          Stuart is a professor at Lyon College, Arkansas, USA (lyon.edu). He has been using Puppy Linux, Precise Puppy, until recently, and is now using EasyOS 3.0.

          Stuart is ‘phdzaps’ in the old Puppy Forum, posts back around 2011 – 2013. He has kept me updated via emails since 2018, about progress with using Puppy in a laboratory.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Codename Is “Jammy Jellyfish”

          The codename for Ubuntu 22.04 LTS has been finalized and the codename for the Ubuntu 22.04 LTS is ‘Jammy Jellyfish’. Ubuntu 22.04 LTS is due for release in April 2022 and it is the next long-term support release of Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu Web Remix 20.04.3 Released with /e/ on WayDroid and Linux Kernel 5.11

          Remember Ubuntu Web? It was first announced last year in November as an alternative to Chrome OS or Chromium OS. It’s an unofficial Ubuntu flavor created by Rudra Saraswat, the maintainer of Ubuntu Unity, offering Web Apps, Android apps, and support for apps from the de-Googled /e/ Foundation.

          While it has an emphasis on Web Apps, Ubuntu Web Remix looks and feel like a real GNU/Linux distribution that you can easily put on your desktop or laptop computer. It features the GNOME desktop environment by default, but with a minimal set of native Linux apps pre-installed.

        • Ubuntu 21.10 Released – gHacks Tech News

          The next version of Ubuntu, 21.10 “Impish Indri” has been released, with nine months of support since it is not an LTS release.

          This version of Ubuntu comes with some new features, and some great performance, at least on my system.


          Ubuntu 21.20 brings new multitouch gestures, available when using Wayland, by default. As well, 21.10 now has a persistent trahs can icon in its dock, rather than a desktop icon, which makes for a nicer workflow option. Also, speaking of Wayland, NVIDIA users can now use Wayland when using the proprietary drivers.

          The latest version of Pipewire is included with this Ubuntu install, making a variety of tools and applications such as screensharing applications function better with Wayland. Wayland is finally starting to really shine, compared to the buggy mess it had been over the past years.

        • Ubuntu 21.10 “Impish Indri” Available To Download

          After 6 months of development, Ubuntu 21.10 codenamed “Impish Indri” is now available for download. Ubuntu 21.10, a short-term support release, improves on its predecessor Ubuntu 21.04 by including an updated desktop environment, applications, and several bug fixes.

          Ubuntu 21.10 “Impish Indri” Released – What’s New in Ubuntu 21.10?

          Six months after the release of Ubuntu 21.04, Ubuntu has released another short-term version, Ubuntu 21.10. This is a short-time release that will only be supported for 9 months, until July 2022, and is recommended for desktop users who want to stay ahead of the competition. The majority of the packages in this version have been updated to their most recent versions, including Gnome, the default desktop environment.

        • Linux distribution Ubuntu 21.10 with Gnome 40 and Firefox as snap package

          Ubuntu 10/21 “Impish Indri” is generally available as of Thursday, Thursday. The new edition of the popular Linux distribution provides the Linux kernel 5.13 to support the next Intel and AMD CPUs, raises LibreOffice to version 7.2.1 and presents Gnome 40 with the ported, Ubuntu-typical extensions in the main edition. For LUKS2-encrypted installations, the Ubiquity installer now offers to create and save a recovery key during installation. A notable but controversial change is the packaging of the Firefox browser, which is preinstalled in all official Ubuntu variants: Firefox is now available as a snap package in the main Gnome edition.

          Ubuntu 21.10 follows the solid, semi-annual release cycle of the distribution. It is the last edition with nine months of support until the next Ubuntu version with long-term support in April next year. As in the previous editions, Ubuntu 21.10 delivers the last major changes before the consolidation of the features for the upcoming LTS version begins. Ubuntu 22.04 LTS is planned for April 2022.

        • Ubuntu 21.10 in server practice: all important new features explained

          Several rituals have established themselves with great regularity in the past IT decade. Only recently, version 24 of the free cloud environment OpenStack, which Canonical patron Mark Shuttleworth once made the standard cloud in Ubuntu and thus gave the project a powerful boost, was released on schedule. And because OpenStack and Ubuntu are still very closely linked, experienced system administrators know: Where a new OpenStack version appears, a new Ubuntu release cannot be far away. Canonical released Ubuntu 21.10 recently, as planned, in mid-October.

          Even if you prefer the LTS version, you should already look into the new features of the server: Most of them will also be found in Ubuntu 22.04, the upcoming LTS version.

        • OpenStack Xena for Ubuntu 21.10 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          The Ubuntu OpenStack team at Canonical is pleased to announce the general
          availability of OpenStack Xena on Ubuntu 21.10 (Impish Indri) and Ubuntu
          20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) via the Ubuntu Cloud Archive. Details of the Xena
          release can be found at: https://www.openstack.org/software/xena

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Sculpt OS release 21.10

        At the first glance, the just released Sculpt 21.10 looks and feels nearly identical to the time-tested previous version 21.03. However, a look at the installable packages reveals a firework of exciting new features.

        First and technically most exciting, the new version enables the use of hardware-accelerated graphics on Intel GPUs, paving the ground for graphics-intensive applications and games. The GPU support is based on the combination of the Mesa library stack with our custom GPU multiplexer as featured in Genode 21.08. Note that this fresh new feature should best be regarded as experimental and be used with caution.

      • Genode-Based Sculpt OS 21.10 Adds Intel GPU Acceleration, USB Web Camera Support – Phoronix

        On Thursday in addition to the releases of Ubuntu 21.10 (plus its derivatives) and OpenBSD 7.0, the Genode OS Framework based Sculpt OS saw its 21.10 release.

        Sculpt OS continues to serve as a general purpose operating system built off the Genode OS Framework as an original, open-source operating system platform.

      • Events

        • It’s Safety First as ‘All Things Open’ Returns In-Person on Sunday – FOSS Force

          On Sunday when All Thing’s Open kicks off at the Raleigh Convention Center it will mark a return to in-person events for the open source conference. Like most in-person events, last year ATO was forced to go digital in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

          To use a term that tech usually reserves for cloud deployments, this year’s All Things Open will be a hybrid event — meaning it’ll take place as an in-person event at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, and online for folks at home. Even the presentations will be hybrid, with some being live streamed as they take place before an in-person audience, and others being prerecorded and available only online.

          We asked Todd Lewis, the creator and chair of the event that in 2019 drew over 5,000 attendees, how it felt to be launching the in-person part of this years conference now that vaccinations have made that possible, despite the continuing spread of the COVID virus.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Google clarifies Spanner/PostgreSQL interface • The Register

          Google has clarified details of the interface between its popular distributed SQL database-management-cum-storage-service Spanner and the open-source RDBMS PostgreSQL.

          According to a blog published this week, Spanner’s PostgreSQL interface uses “the familiarity and portability of PostgreSQL” to make developers’ lives easier.

          “Teams can be assured that the schemas and queries they build against the Spanner PostgreSQL interface can be easily ported to another PostgreSQL environment, giving them flexibility and peace of mind,” said Justin Makeig, product manager for Cloud Spanner.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Week numbers in LibreOffic Calc

          I use week numbers for all sorts of things. It gives me more granularity than a month, and they’re more accurate for certain use cases. For example, people assume a month has four weeks, but 48 leaves us four weeks short of the 52 weeks in a year. Renters and mortgage payers know all to well the fun of realising a specific month has three payments, not two.

      • SFC

        • How We Hired Our Last Employee: Equitable Hiring Processes for Small (and Large) Organizations

          It’s really hard for Conservancy to hire new employees. Like many small organization that are overloaded with work, it’s hard to make the time to conduct a proper hiring process, and no one on staff is dedicated to making sure the process goes smoothly. Because it is very important to our organizational values to make sure that our hiring is fair and also that we wind up with the best person for the job, we were very careful in how we designed our search.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Legacy Social Media: Free as in Beer, Not as in Speech
          • A first for search and rescue from space

            “Once it was confirmed that we could detect the faint transmissions on-board I used ‘GNU Radio’ to build the signal processing system that would run on the satellite. GNU Radio is a free and open-source library that breaks down complex signal processing systems into simple blocks. The ability to reprogram the SDR payload for any type of signal demonstrates the versatility when open-source software is combined with a powerful space platform such as OPS-SAT.”

        • Licensing/Legal

          • The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation has developed an open license – itsfoss.net

            In the git repository of the software complex “Data showcases of the NSUD”, developed by order of the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation, the text of the license entitled “State open license, version 1.1” was found. According to the explanatory text, the rights to the text of the license belong to the Ministry of Finance. The license is dated June 25, 2021.

            In fact, the license is permissive and close to the MIT license , but it was created with an eye on Russian legislation and is much more verbose. The terms of the license contain many clarifications, already following from the legislation of the Russian Federation. At the same time, the license contains controversial points in terms of definitions. Thus, the source code is defined as “a computer program in the form of text in a programming language that can be read by a person”, which does not necessarily imply the possibility of obtaining executable code from it, and also that this code is not generated from the real source code (that is, code in the preferred form for making changes).

          • Article from Krzysztof Żok, Faculty of Law – University of Poznań

            Krzysztof Żok, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland), publishes in the Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology (volume 15, winter 2021) a well-documented article on the EUPL and in particular on the reference to “a work or software” as the factor determining the scope of the licence.

            Here are the summary notes that the author provides in conclusion: [...]

      • Programming/Development

        • How the Integrated Gradients method works? – Vincent Lequertier’s blog

          For artificial intelligence (AI) transparency and to better shape upcoming policies, we need to better understand the AI’s output. In particular, one may want to understand the role attributed to each input. This is hard, because in neural networks input variables don’t have a single weight that could serve as a proxy for determining their importance with regard to the output. Therefore, one have to consider all the neural network’s weights, which may be all interconnected. Here is how Integrated Gradients does this.

        • Want a piece of GitLab? It’s going to cost you: IPO price per share settles at $77

          The one-stop shop approach by DevOps darling GitLab appears to have attracted an Initial Public Offering price of $77, giving the loss-making biz a potential valuation of $11bn

          GitLab finally filed for an IPO in September and this week upped the estimated price per share to between $66 and $69. The eventual price has turned out to be $77, well above the initial $55 to $60 first estimated.

          8.42 million shares of Class A common stock are being sold. Founder and CEO Sytse Sijbrandij is selling another 1.98 million shares, according to the filing. Should that $77 price survive the start of trading today, GitLab’s market value will nudge past $11bn.

        • Functional vs. object-oriented programming: The basics

          Committing to a programming paradigm is an important step in any application development effort. While they are hardly the only two options when it comes to overarching development models, the choice between functional programming and object-oriented programming is one that an increasing number of developers face today.

        • There is no ‘printf’.

          Pop quiz! What will the following program return?

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • Malicious packages mitmproxy2 and mitmproxy-iframe removed from PyPI directory – itsfoss.net

            The author of mitmproxy , a tool for analyzing HTTP / HTTPS traffic, drew attention to the appearance of a fork of his project in the Python Package Index (PyPI) directory. The fork was distributed under the similar name mitmproxy2 and the non-existent version 8.0.1 (current release of mitmproxy 7.0.4) with the expectation that inattentive users will perceive the package as a new version of the main project ( typesquatting ) and wish to try the new version.

            In terms of its composition, mitmproxy2 was similar to mitmproxy, with the exception of changes in the implementation of malicious functionality. The changes were reduced to the termination of setting the HTTP header ” X-Frame-Options: DENY “, which prohibits the processing of content inside the iframe, disabling protection against XSRF attacks and setting the headers ” Access-Control-Allow-Origin: * “, ” Access-Control- Allow-Headers: * “and” Access-Control-Allow-Methods: POST, GET, DELETE, OPTIONS “.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Sourcing vs executing in Bash

            What if, from the shell prompt, I could source the script, to bring the function definitions into my current environment, and then manually invoke the check function on a single pull request?

            Sourcing the script as it is would have the unwanted effect of running checks on all the pull requests, because the last line in the script actually invokes main, as it’s supposed to.

        • Rust

          • Rust-Based Cloud-Hypervisor 19.0 Released With Improved Live Migration, Faster Boot Time – Phoronix

            Cloud-Hypervisor 19.0 debuted this week as the Intel-led open-source VMM focused on supporting modern cloud workloads and written in the Rust programming language while leveraging the Linux’s KVM virtualization code or the Microsoft MSHV hypervisor on Windows.

            Cloud-Hypervisor 19.0 continues to focus on only supporting 64-bit software, providing a minimal attack surface and other security improvements in part by leveraging Rust, and other modern-focused design principals.

          • Dyn async traits, part 6

            A quick update to my last post: first, a better way to do what I was trying to do, and second, a sketch of the crate I’d like to see for experimental purposes.

  • Leftovers

    • An Entangled History: Christianity Faces Off With The Enlightenment

      As the doyen of historians of the Enlightenment, Peter Gay (The Party of Humanity: essays in the French revolution [1964]), reminds us: “The stakes in the attack on Christian theology were higher than the fate of theology itself: to discredit Christianity was to take a decisive step in the direction of a secular, modern civilization” (p. 46). But during the time of this great shaking—from the scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to the Enlightenment era of the eighteenth—Christian churches, both Catholic and Protestant, did not simply wake up one morning and crown Reason as their new Lord and Redeemer. Nor did Christian thinkers simply reject the Enlightenment teachings and new rational sensibilities.

      In France, for instance, a virulent anti-philosophe movement—a kind of counter-enlightenment—was spearheaded by the Roman Catholic Church (McMahon, Enemies of the Enlightenment: the French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity [2001]). McMahon tells us a story seldom told by Enlightenment scholars. “There is no more religion in France. All is lost!” cried out Joseph-Laurent Gilbert at one of Voltaire’s plays. This cry of fear from the anguished heart captures something of the rage militant clergy, enlightened aristocrats, Sorbonne censors and ordinary others watched in horror during the Reign of Terror of 1793-1794 when blood-soaked revolutionaries sought to sweep away all traces of royalist, Christian France. They destroyed churches and desecrated sanctuaries, plundered altars, forced priests and nuns to marry.

    • Another Shit Storm in Berkeley

      “I don’t think the toilet was meant intentionally to be malicious, though it amounts to that,” Neumann told me. He added, “If I hadn’t heard about it I think it would have gone through. The city is focused on toilets, not on murals.”

      Lord knows, the city desperately needs places for people to pee and poop. Signs everywhere and especially in  the front windows of cafes and restaurants say, “restrooms for customers only.” It’s not just a problem in Berkeley. It’s a problem all over post-pandemic America.

    • Discontent by Design: The Lost World of the West

      The greatest crisis of all, however, is humanity, and the culture that we, specifically ‘The West’, have built and are wedded to. The Culture of Pleasure sits tightly within and feeds the pervasive Ideology of Consumerism, a socio-economic model that has poisoned the environment and led to the commodification of everything, and everyone.

      While there are counter trends with people living simpler, more responsible lives, broadly speaking humanity is immersed in the world of pleasure, and has lost its way. Our ancient connection to and respect for the planet has gone, as has relationship with others and with ourselves – with who and what we essentially are; the mystery and wonder of life has been trampled on in the race to consume, to achieve, to ‘succeed’.

    • The Moon and Six-Pence
    • Why Activists Are Calling on Kathy Hochul to “Free Them All”

      “Get them from behind the wall! Governor Hochul, free them all!” On Friday, more than five dozen people gathered in midtown Manhattan. They were repeating their demand that New York’s new governor do what her predecessor failed to do: release abuse survivors imprisoned throughout New York, particularly given the state’s widespread failure to provide protection and resources, such as housing, medical and mental health care, and other supports that would enable them to escape or survive violence.

    • The LA Olympics Are Being Planned Behind Closed Doors

      The 2028 Los Angeles Olympics are still nearly seven years away. But the city council has set a self-imposed deadline of November 1 to come up with an agreement with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and  LA 28, the private nonprofit consortium responsible for running the games as to how the city will host the event. The city, whose outgoing mayor, Eric Garcetti, has been an outspoken supporter of the Olympic bid, has also determined that by that date it will make a decision on whether to expand LAX airport to accommodate the anticipated Olympic crowds. The council is also slated to decide whether to expand a loophole in the City’s housing codes to allow up to 14,000 more short-term rentals in a city that already has a vast number of unhoused residents. Why would the City do this? One answer is that AirBnb is one of the corporate sponsors of the 2028 Olympics.

    • How Latin America became tech’s next big frontier

      Start-ups created to tackle problems like these are propelling the region to the forefront of the emerging market tech boom. Last year US $4.1 billion of venture capital investment flowed into Latin America, exceeding southeast Asia’s $3.3 billion and beating Africa, the Middle East and central and eastern Europe combined, according to the Global Private Capital Association.

      In the first half of this year, Latin America pulled in $6.5 billion of venture capital, not far short of India’s $8.3 billion.

    • Education

      • Texas School Administrator to Teachers: Teach “Opposing” Sides of the Holocaust
      • ‘Holocaust Denial Has No Place in Our Society’: AOC Reprimands Texas School Official

        A top school administrator from Southlake, Texas—and the state GOP’s reactionary curriculum policies—came under fire after NBC News revealed Thursday that she recently told teachers that books about the Holocaust should be accompanied by books with “opposing” views.

        “We find it reprehensible for an educator to require a Holocaust denier to get equal treatment with the facts of history… It’s worse than absurd.”

      • Texas school chief calls for ‘opposing’ views on Holocaust

        A Texas school administrator came under fire in the US after a viral audio recording revealed she instructed teachers to have books with “opposing” views on the Holocaust available for students in classrooms.

        Gina Peddy told teachers during a training session on what books they are permitted in their classroom libraries that if they offered a book on the Holocaust they needed to offer students access to a book with an “opposing” perspective.

      • A Blackface ‘Othello’ Shocks, and a Professor Steps Back From Class

        The incident might have remained just the latest flash point at a music program that has been roiled in recent years by a series of charges of misconduct by star professors. But a day before Professor Sheng stepped down, a long, scathing Medium post by a student in the class rippled across Twitter before getting picked up in Newsweek, Fox News, The Daily Mail and beyond, entangling one of the nation’s leading music schools in the supercharged national debate over race, academic freedom and free speech.


        Professor Sheng, in his emailed response to questions from The Times, said that the purpose of the class had been to show how Verdi had adapted Shakespeare’s play into an opera, and that he had chosen the Olivier film simply because it was “one of the most faithful to Shakespeare.” He also said that he had not seen the makeup as an attempt to mock Black people, but as part of a long tradition — one that has persisted in opera — which he said valued the “music quality of the singers” over physical resemblance.

    • Hardware

      • PSA: Publishing supply chain shortages

        The publishing industry is being sandbagged by horrible supply chain problems. This is a global problem: shipping costs are through the roof, there’s a shortage of paper, a shortage of workers (COVID19 is still happening, after all) and publishers are affected everywhere. If you regularly buy comics, especially ones in four colour print, you’ll already have noticed multi-month delays stacking up. Now the printing and logistics backlogs are hitting novels, just in time for the festive season.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Mondaire Jones, Katie Porter Urge Fellow Democrats to Reject Means-Testing Folly

        Democratic Reps. Mondaire Jones and Katie Porter are again pushing back against any effort to implement means-testing to water down potentially historic social investments proposed in their party’s Build Back Better plan.

        Making the proposed investments in the social safety net—including child care and Medicare expansion—universal is both “good policy and good politics,” they wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published Thursday.

      • Toothless: the Build Back Better Bill’s Dental Coverage

        So that’s why, for months, Senator Bernie Sanders has told us Medicare must cover dental work. The notion is wildly popular with seniors, understandably, as many cannot afford to keep their teeth and would like to continue chewing with them. Medicare coverage would be a way to hang onto their molars and incisors. Now those voters’ hopes will likely be dashed, as the House bill that deals with this matter would postpone its implementation till 2028. In short, the House is kicking seniors in the teeth.

        Federal officials, according to the Washington Post, cite as their excuse for this delay vetting new dentists for Medicare and instituting a pricing system to reimburse them. This is hogwash. When president Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the law establishing Medicare, on July 30, 1965, at the ceremony former president Harry Truman was instantly enrolled as Medicare’s first beneficiary and received the first Medicare card. Nineteen million people enrolled when Medicare officially geared up some MONTHS later. So now the Dems would have us believe that they can’t do in the 2020s what they did in the ‘60s? Who’s going to buy that nonsense? Something here just doesn’t wash.

      • The Great Barrington Declaration strikes back

        About a year ago, three scientists wrote and issued the Great Barrington Declaration. When I wrote about it at the time, I characterized the Declaration as “magnified minority” and eugenics, the former because it followed a common crank playbook of issuing a declaration about a fringe science position and getting lots of doctors and scientists, the vast majority of whom have no expertise in the area, to sign it, and the latter for reasons I will describe. Named after the town in Massachusetts where the right wing “free market” think tank, the American Institute for Economic Research is located, the Great Barrington Declaration proposed, in essence, letting COVID-19 rip through the “healthy” younger population in order to build up “natural herd immunity,” all while using “focused protection” to protect those at high risk for severe disease and death from coronavirus, such as the elderly and those with chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Short URLs come in handy for cybercrooks

        However, there are downsides too. URL shorteners are often used by online fraudsters to trick users into following a link to compromise their systems, swindle money from their bank accounts or even trick them into mine cryptocurrency without the intervention of the user. Recipients could be clicking a malware link (short links) or be directed to a spoofing page where the victim’s sensitive information could be recorded and later used for stealing sensitive data or money.

      • Proprietary

        • Citrix has built a browser, and lost a CEO

          According to a regulatory filing, in early October, the company’s board appointed Robert M. Calderoni as interim CEO, after David Henshall stepped down from the role.

        • User locked out of Microsoft account by MFA bug, complains of customer-hostile support • The Register [Ed: By Microsoft Tim]

          Konstantin Gizdov, an IT professional, was locked out of his Microsoft account by a bug in the company’s Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), but says support refused to acknowledge the bug or recover his account.

          Gizdov is founder of KGE Consultancy Ltd in Edinburgh and an Arch Linux Trusted User.

          His problems began when he received an email informing him that his Microsoft account had been renamed. “I immediately clicked on the ‘That was not me’ button,” he said in a post, after which he managed to contact support.

        • Apple patches ‘actively exploited’ iPhone zero-day with iOS 15.0.2 update

          If you’re using an iPhone, install the iOS 15.0.2 update immediately: Apple has warned that the latest OS upgrade patches an “actively exploited” zero-day.

          Described as a “memory corruption issue” by Apple, the vuln is present within the IOMobileFrameBuffer kernel extension, used for managing display memory. Malicious applications are said to be capable of triggering an integer overflow in the framebuffer, permitting execution of arbitrary code with kernel privileges.

          The bug, publicly tracked as CVE-2021-30883, has not yet been published in full although technical descriptions and proofs of concept are already circulating on security-focused areas of the web.

        • Podcast: 67% of Orgs Have Been Hit by Ransomware at Least Once [iophk: Windows TCO]

          According to Fortinet’s Global State of Ransomware Report 2021 (PDF), released last week, most organizations report that ransomware is their top most concerning cyber-threat. That’s particularly true for respondents in Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Europe-Middle East-Africa, who report that they’re more likely to be victims than their peers in the U.S. or Canada.

        • Treasury: $590M paid out by victims of ransomware attacks in first half of 2021 [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Just over 450 ransomware payments were reported to FinCEN from the beginning of January through end of June, with the amount of suspicious activity reports increasing by 30 percent from last year. The amount paid by victims also massively increased compared to 2020, when $416 million was paid out over the entire year.

        • Ransomware? No fear, Scott Morrison has a plan. An action plan

          Hence the Ransomware Action Plan. It’s just like the numerous other plans which Morrison and his ministers have put forth, meaningless jumbles of words, all aimed at that one Saturday before next May when the election will have to be held.

          When something that should necessarily have some gravitas starts out like this: “The world has never been more interconnected and our reliance on the internet to fuel Australia’s prosperity and maintain our way of life has never been greater”, you just know that it’s weapons-grade BS.

        • Apple to make 10 million fewer iPhones due to microchip shortage

          Chip suppliers such as Broadcom and Texas Instruments have reportedly told the smartphone maker that they won’t be able to deliver as many units as they said they could.

        • New Windows 10 KB5006670 update breaks network printing
        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • A class of its own, CNCF & Linux Foundation Kubernetes exam [Ed: Adrian Bridgwater publishing spam for Zemlin now over in ComputerWeekly… real journalism is dead. It’s all sponsored.]
              • KubeCon 2021: New Kubernetes Certificate and the future of Kubernetes – Market Research Telecast

                The CNCF, the foundation under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation, which is responsible for the administration of the Kubernetes source code, has the KubeCon North America opened and welcomed visitors again after two years. In autumn 2019, users and developers of Kubernetes and cloud native technologies from their environment met for the last time on site at KubeCon & CloudNativeCon in the USA. The following European edition 2020 at the end of March took place via live streams from living rooms.

        • Security

          • Running a recent Apache web server version? You probably need to patch it. Now

            The Apache Software Foundation has hurried out a patch to address a pair of HTTP Web Server vulnerabilities, at least one of which is already being actively exploited.

            Apache’s HTTP Server is widely used, and the vulnerabilities, CVE-2021-41524 and CVE-2021-41773, aren’t great. The latter, a path traversal and file disclosure flaw, is particularly problematic.

            The former was reported to Apache’s security team on 17 September and can be exploited by an external source to DoS a server with a specially crafted request. It turned up in version 2.4.49, which was released on September 15, and the Apache crew is not aware of any exploit.

          • VoIP Unlimited hit by outage in wake of DDoS claims • The Register

            A British VoIP firm has staggered back to its feet after being smacked with a series of apparent DDoSes a month after suffering a series of sustained attacks it said were delivered by the REvil ransomware gang.

            In an update at 11:56 UK time, it said it was “continuing to suffer from large scale DDoS attacks. VoIP Unlimited engineers are continuing to mitigate the impact on services.”

          • Source Tags & Codes

            The saga of the Missouri governor reflects a failure by the powerful to embrace curiosity—curiosity encouraged by the HTML language he fails to understand.

          • blog.ipfire.org – Feature Spotlight: Weaponising IPFire Location to proactively detect Fast Flux setups

            Thanks to libloc, the free & open source location database, IPFire comes with an accurate, trustworthy database for mapping IP addresses to countries and Autonomous Systems, and vice versa. This allows us to introduce a new feature: Proactive detection of Fast Flux setups, which are commonly used by ne’er-do-wells for hosting questionable and malicious content on compromised machines around the world, switching from one infected PC, IoT device, or router to another within minutes.

            To the best of our knowledge, this is a unique feature. Contrary to other security mechanisms such as AV scanners, which are often lagging behind, it detects malware, phishing, C&C servers and other nefarious things proactively – before any threat intelligence source in the world even knows about them. Even better, measurements done so far indicate it comes with a near-zero false positive rate in productive environments.1

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The Surveillance And Privacy Concerns Of The Infrastructure Bill’s Impaired Driving Sensors

              There is no doubt that many folks trying to come up with ways to reduce impaired driving and making the roads safer have the best of intentions. And yet, hidden within those intentions can linger some pretty dangerous consequences. For reasons that are not entirely clear to me, the giant infrastructure bill (that will apparently be negotiated forever) includes a mandate that automakers would eventually need to build in technology that monitors whether or not drivers are impaired. It’s buried deep in the bill (see page 1066), but the key bit is:

            • Entering the Matrix

              For a long time, the Tor community has been running many day-to-day activities using the IRC network known as OFTC. IRC has worked out well for us, and our community on IRC has been evolving over the years with new people joining in and new channels appearing for specific needs in the organization.

            • Clearview Celebrates 10 Billion Scraped Images Collected, Claims It Can Now Recognize Blurred, Masked Faces

              Clearview’s not going to let several months of bad press derail its plans to generate even more negative press. The facial recognition tech company that relies on billions of scraped images from the web to create its product is currently being sued in multiple states, has had its claims about investigative effectiveness repeatedly debunked and, most recently, served (then rescinded) a subpoena to transparency advocacy group Open the Government demanding information on all its Clearview-related FOIA requests as well as its communications with journalists.

            • Flight of the Concord Drones

              The City Council of Concord, California, is tone deaf to community concerns regarding a proposed police Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS) system – commonly referred to as drones. In a city where the police department is responsible for nearly 60% of the city budget, this should come as no surprise. The UAS program, however, will strangely be funded by Marathon Petroleum, which has no offices or facilities in Concord. EFF, ACLU, and 15 other Contra Costa community organizations opposed this action. We also demanded police oversight and ample safeguards to protect civil liberties and civil rights if the program were to be adopted.

              Privacy and police accountability are a massive issue with UAS systems, and are both high priority issues for California voters, as evidenced by the passage of California Consumer Privacy Act and police accountability legislation.

              Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles that can be equipped with high definition, live-feed video cameras, thermal infrared video cameras, heat sensors, and radar—all of which allow for sophisticated and persistent surveillance. Drones can record video or still images in daylight or at night (with infrared lenses). They can also be equipped with software tools like license plate readers, face recognition, and GPS trackers that extend the dangers they pose to privacy. There have even been proposals for law enforcement to attach lethal and non-lethal weapons to drones. Additionally, newly developed drone automation allows for automatic tracking of vehicles and individuals.

            • Human rights activist suing Twitter for allegedly giving Saudi spies access to his info

              Al-Ahmed also claims in the lawsuit that his Twitter account was suspended in 2018 without explanation and has yet to be reinstated despite repeated appeals. The lawsuit alleges that the company has kept Al-Ahmed’s Arabic-language account inaccessible so as not to displease the Saudi government.

            • Bugs in our pockets?

              Now, in Bugs in our Pockets: The Risks of Client-Side Scanning, colleagues and I take a long hard look at the options for mass surveillance via software embedded in people’s devices, as opposed to the current practice of monitoring our communications. Client-side scanning, as the agencies’ new wet dream is called, has a range of possible missions. While Apple and the FBI talked about finding still images of sex abuse, the EU was talking last year about videos and text too, and of targeting terrorism once the argument had been won on child protection. It can also use a number of possible technologies; in addition to the perceptual hash functions in the Apple proposal, there’s talk of machine-learning models. And, as a leaked EU internal report made clear, the preferred outcome for governments may be a mix of client-side and server-side scanning.

            • Apple’s Child-Porn Tracking System Is Flawed, Report Says

              The 46-page report counts among its 14 authors pioneers in encryption software. It outlines, in detail, what the authors deem the numerous risks of a technique called “client-side scanning,” which was at the heart of a controversy that erupted when Cupertino, California-based Apple announced a plan in August to scan users’ iCloud Photos accounts for sexually explicit images of children and then report instances to relevant authorities. Apple later postponed those plans amid the backlash. The New York Times previously reported on the experts’ concerns.

            • Confidentiality

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Tory Lawmaker Stabbed to Death During Meeting With Constituents in UK

        This is a breaking story… Check back for possible updates…

        Conservative Party MP David Amess was fatally stabbed in the United Kingdom on Friday during a meeting with local constituents in Leigh-on-Sea, a coastal town in eastern England.

      • ‘It Was Torture’: African Asylum-Seekers Describe Restraint Agony on ICE ‘Death Flights’

        With images of U.S. Border Patrol agents using horses and whip-like reins to round up Haitian asylum-seekers fresh in their minds, Black immigrants’ rights advocates this week filed a human and civil rights complaint condemning what they called the torture of African deportees last year by Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel.

        “I truly felt I was meeting my death in that moment… When I complained, they just pulled the WRAP tighter.”

      • Abandoning Yemen?

        “This is a major setback for all victims who have suffered serious violations during the armed conflict,” the GEE wrote in a statement the day after the U.N. Human Rights Council refused to extend a mandate for continuation of the group’s work.  “The Council appears to be abandoning the people of Yemen,” the statement says, adding that “Victims of this tragic armed conflict should not be silenced by the decision of a few States.”

        Prior to the vote, there were indications that Saudi Arabia and its allies, such as Bahrain (which sits on the U.N. Human Rights Council), had increased lobbying efforts worldwide in a bid to do away with the Group of Experts. Actions of the Saudi-led coalition waging war against Yemen had been examined and reported on by the Group of Experts. Last year, the Saudi bid for a seat on the Human Rights Council was rejected, but Bahrain serves as its proxy.

      • Jan 6 Committee Will Hold Steve Bannon in Contempt for Violating Subpoena Order
      • The Modern History of Africa is the Natural Extension of the Struggle of the Palestinian People

        Built of largely self-serving excuse, as a starting point, these arguments fail to consider the entirety of the historical context of the relationship between the African continent and Israel. A plain read of Israeli-African relations clearly indicates that they were affected, if not determined, by parallel Arab-Israeli interactions. Thus, as statements of principle and solidarity, many African countries severed extant relations with Israel following the Israeli aggressions against Arab countries in 1967 and, then again, in1973.

        Though, to some degree, these countries eventually reconstructed their relations with Israel once Egypt did so in 1978, and following the Madrid Conference of 1991 and the Oslo Agreements, it proved to be but a fleeting gesture as Israel was unable to exploit this temporary détente beyond the period when the Organization of African Unity morphed into the African Union.  .

      • Leaked Video Helped Lead to the Conviction of a Far Right “Proud Boy”
      • Ascendant Democratic Warhawk Wants to Pre-Authorize War With China
      • Study Says Official Count Of Police Killings Is More Than 50% Lower Than The Actual Number

        In 2019, the FBI claimed to be compiling the first-ever database of police use of force, including killings of citizens by officers. It was, of course, not the first-ever database of police killings. Multiple databases have been created (some abandoned) prior to this self-congratulatory announcement to track killings by police officers.

      • Endless Enemies and the Permanent War Economy

        Ross Douthat contends that this failure has been known for some time, its irredeemable nature especially evident during the early Obama years when a decent political settlement couldn’t be reached despite the troop surge; when our forces “blunted but did not reverse the Taliban’s recovery.” And subsequent efforts were devoted to merely managing stalemate versus pursuing victory (“Joe Biden’s Critics Lost Afghanistan,” NYTimes, 8/31/21).

        The targeting of the Obama years is telling not only because of the surge. Mr. Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize as he entered office, giving him the defaulted moniker as the “Peace President.” His acceptance speech mimicked the reasons the committee gave for granting him the prize. It voted to affirm his desire to achieve peace, likely swayed by the impact of his pre-election speeches, masterful pieces of rhetoric against war (and against neoliberalism as well, though effectively nullified after the election). The speech itself then was an embarrassing justification for the potential of war to produce peace. If the committee had voted after his decision to boot up the Afghan War, he would probably have gotten the prize anyway since the war’s material subsidies indentured a host of players and interests and bolstered support for it. So, the rhetoric of the speech and the decision soon after to expand the war, mesh efficiently into a saleable message that nicely smooths over an embarrassing contradiction.

      • The Haitian Migration Crisis: Made in the U.S.A.

        Biden recently ordered the breakup of a camp of 15,000 mainly Black Haitian migrants under a border bridge in Del Rio, Texas. The migrants—many of whom had traveled thousands of miles—had fled to the U.S. in the hopes of being granted asylum from the horrific oppression and exploitation they face in Haiti, Chile, Brazil, and other states in the region.

        In scenes that evoked the history of U.S. slave catchers, Border Patrol agents on horseback used their reins as whips to beat the refugees they chased down and captured. Eager to join the racist frenzy, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the National Guard and Texas police to form a miles-long “steel wall” of patrol cars and military vehicles to block migrants from escaping Biden’s dragnet.

      • How Feminists Can Support Afghan Women Living Under the Taliban

        There’s little question that gains made by Afghan women over the past 20 years, particularly urban women, have been rolled back—at least temporarily. Since coming to power, the Taliban have said girls would be allowed to go to school, but in some parts of the country, girls are being kept out of grades 7-12. And while female students have continued to attend private universities, most women enrolled in public universities have not been attending classes due to fear, canceled classes or Taliban restrictions. Even though Taliban spokesmen insist that women can continue to work, there are also frequent reports of Taliban militants ordering women to leave their workplaces.

        While we should all be outraged about the abuses and deterioration of rights that Afghan women are experiencing, the Taliban aren’t the only cause of women’s distress right now. The economy and public services are screeching to a halt because the international community has pulled the plug on funding. Afghanistan is a country that has relied on outside donors to fund its vital services for most of its modern existence. When the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan, it froze $9.5 billion of the Afghan Central Bank’s assets and pushed the International Monetary Fund to block Afghanistan’s access to over $450 million earmarked for COVID-19 relief. Adding fuel to the fire, the World Bank suspended financing to the Afghan healthcare system through its Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. Given that foreign aid to Afghanistan had previously been about $8.5 billion a year — nearly half of the country’s gross domestic product — the impact of freezing these funds is catastrophic for women and their families.

      • Afghanistan Tackles the Islamic State

        The name of the attacker raised red flags across the region. It indicated that he belonged to the Uyghur community and had a relationship with the Xinjiang region of western China, which is home to most of the world’s Uyghur population. That a Chinese extremist attacked a Shia mosque raised eyebrows in Beijing and in Tehran.

        Foreign Terrorists

      • America’s Instinctive Fascism Creeps On

        ‘The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves…We are already in a constitutional crisis. The destruction of democracy might not come until November 2024, but critical steps in that direction are happening now. In a little more than a year, it may become impossible to pass legislation to protect the electoral process in 2024. Now it is impossible only because anti-Trump Republicans, and even some Democrats, refuse to tinker with the filibuster. It is impossible because, despite all that has happened, some people still wish to be good Republicans even as they oppose Trump. These decisions will not wear well as the nation tumbles into full-blown crisis.’”

        Millions of racist, sexist, and nativist white Americans, many if not most of them armed, are angrily panting for the Amerikaner Party of Trump’s (APoT’s) return to full national power and revenge. The storming of the US Capitol last January 6th is for them just a test run for further and more serious efforts to “take our country back.” The second American civil war they want is already being waged in numerous ways, including the right’s interrelated assaults on minority voting rights, gun control, election integrity, women’s reproductive rights, racially honest school curriculum, and basic public health measures to defeat COVID-19.

      • ‘Dozens’ of Oregon Cops Have Paid Dues to the Oath Keepers Militia Group: Report

        According to the leaked data obtained by Distributed Denial of Secrets, a non-profit whistleblower organization that shares leaked information with journalists and researchers, Oregon police signed up to join the group as early as 2009. The data includes members’ names, the date they joined Oath Keepers and contact information for anyone who paid dues to the group, which is comprised of nearly 40,000 individuals across the country. But, according to OPB, it is difficult to discern from the available data whether people on the list were current members of Oath Keepers, unless they had paid the group’s $1,000 lifetime membership fee.

      • Capitol Police Officer Charged With Helping a Guy in His Facebook Fishing Groups Hide Insurrection Evidence

        Riley, who has served on the Capitol Police force for over 25 years, was on duty the day of the attack not in the Capitol, but he allegedly sent dozens of messages to the rioter, whose name has not been revealed, recommending he get rid of any incriminating selfies or videos that would place him in the Capitol that day. Prosecutors said Riley also gave the person information about how the FBI was going to track down the identities of the rioters, and he later deleted all the messages he sent to him. What Riley didn’t know is that prosecutors can obtain deleted copies of photos and messages from social media companies, which is exactly what they did.

      • Apple removed a popular Quran app in China

        While it’s logical for business, that framing has placed the company in questionable positions before. Apple has removed VPN apps that allowed Chinese users to avoid censorship and proactively filtered out apps that mentioned Tiananmen Square, the Dalai Lama, or Taiwanese and Tibetan independence. Apple’s suppliers in the region have also been connected to the oppression of China’s predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority.

      • It’s Not Q. It’s You

        As Uscinski explains it, conspiracy theories don’t affect people so much as people affect them. And those people aren’t unwittingly sucked by powerful algorithms down a rabbit hole of dis- and misinformation but rather are drawn there by what they already believe — or want to believe — is true. “This discussion is often framed backwards,” Uscinski tells me. “It suggests that internet content, or the algorithms, have magical powers of persuasion. But [a QAnon adherent] wasn’t looking at recipes on YouTube then slipped on a banana peel and got inadvertently pulled down the QAnon rabbit hole. Maybe they were on YouTube looking for fringe conspiracy theories or extremist religious stuff; maybe they were already into all sorts of Bible conspiracy nonsense. The internet didn’t persuade them of some foreign idea. It gave them exactly what they already believed.”

      • Why Isn’t Steve Bannon in Jail? Ask the Democrats.

        Bannon missed the deadline to submit documents last week, but Democrats did not act because the deadline to sit for a deposition was this week. I’m not sure why the Select Committee thought an extra week would change Bannon’s mind, but it didn’t. Now that he’s missed the deposition deadline as well as the document deadline, Committee Chairman Benny Thompson says that they will start the process of referring Bannon for criminal contempt proceedings… next week. There’s a three-day “notice” period before a Congress member can call a vote on a criminal contempt referral, and instead of starting that process last week when Bannon missed a deadline to turn over documents, the Select Committee waited until this week when he missed the documents and deposition deadlines. Cool system we’ve got here, bro.

      • [Old] We must confront the Taliban apologists in the west

        The collapse of the government, the withdrawal of western forces and attacks on Kabul airport – claimed by the terrorist group ISIS-K – have made Afghanistan a hellhole for the citizens of the country, who have been left at the mercy of the Taliban’s barbaric regime.

        No doubt this will be a victory for the Taliban apologists, who have longed for the establishment of an Islamic state to enforce Sharia law – while overlooking human rights violations.

      • Islamic council forum with Taliban ‘not a free speech issue’

        “This is a little bit like if a Christian organisation decided to get three members of the KKK to speak at an event.”

      • Sermons in a mosque in France advocate armed jihad, martyrdom and the committing of terrorist attacks

        The Sarthe prefecture announced on Wednesday that it had initiated proceedings to close the mosque in Allonnes, a small town of about 11,000 inhabitants southwest of Le Mans. The mosque has about 300 worshippers and its sermons legitimise “armed jihad”.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Russ Kick, ‘Rogue Transparency Activist,’ Is Dead at 52

        He was among the first to post documents in full, including all 16,000 pages of the F.B.I.’s file on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (The agency had released only a fraction of them.)

        “The work he was doing was phenomenal,” David Cuillier, a University of Arizona professor who studies government transparency and public-records access, said in an interview. “He showed that anybody in this country could get public records out of the government, even when the government didn’t want to give them out.”

      • Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan

        While many of the ideas behind the spending bill are popular with voters, a CBS News poll released this week found that only 10 percent of Americans knew a lot about the specifics and 57 percent indicated they didn’t know any details about the multitrillion-dollar proposal.

    • Environment

      • Rings
      • In Colorado Just Another Environmental Whitewash for the Polis Administration

        Up till now, the Polis administration, allied with the oil industry as a silent partner, has been somewhat successful in confounding the true causes of our air quality problems. They initiated a fairly successful trope claiming the source of our miserable air quality was the massive fires on the west coast. It was California’s fault. But the actions of these courageous three, who incidentally comprise the entire air-quality modeling branch for the APCD, may have turned the tables on this flimsy political contrivance.

        First of all Polis’s repeated claim that California is responsible is a laugher. Colorado’s front range has had air quality problems for decades. They didn’t start with the wildfires on the west coast, though those certainly haven’t helped. Neither, with a radically heating planet, are these fires likely to diminish. Hidden in the soot from the west coast fires is the fact that the state and the oil industry admitted in 2013 that most of the volatile organic compounds, VOCs, come from oil activities centered in Weld County. Colorado’s fracking activity and oil production is centered in that county. Ozone, formed through the chemistry of VOCs reacting with sunlight, which in Colorado is also abundant, is recognized as a primary cause of asthma in children and a dangerous health threat to all people with lung and heart disease. Ozone pollution is the primary reason Colorado is under threat of going from serious to severe noncompliance with the federal Clean Air Act. Severe is exceeded only by extreme in the CAA’s hierarchy of risks. Soot from forest fires near and far is simply icing.

      • After Hurricane Ida, Louisianians Offer Bold Visions for Climate Resilience
      • How to Save the World (From a Climate Armageddon)

        Of course, politicians, scientific groups, and environmental organizations will offer plans of every sort in Glasgow to reduce global carbon emissions and slow the process of planetary incineration. President Biden’s representatives will tout his promise to promote renewable energy and install electric-car-charging stations nationwide, while President Macron of France will offer his own ambitious proposals, as will many other leaders. However, no combination of these, even if carried out, would prove sufficient to prevent global disaster — not as long as China and the U.S. continue to prioritize trade competition and war preparations over planetary survival.

        In the end, it’s not complicated. If the planet’s two “great” powers refuse to cooperate in a meaningful way in tackling the climate threat, we’re done for.

      • Waking up to Climate Change Dinosaurs

        The first interview, with Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie, is filled with the sort of rejigged reality that is less mind expansion than contraction.   It is easy to forget that she is a member of the government.  She tells listeners that her constituents and the electorate she represented were not interested in climate change or its effects.  A bold, quixotic reading.  They were also the “most marginalised” and vulnerable in Australia.  This would be a fascinating take for those in the employ of Rio Tinto and other mining giants.

        McKenzie (“Fran, Fran, Fran,” she implored with adolescent petulance) was all for those in rural areas, claiming that, “We have been able to avoid very bad outcomes for our country.”  Environmental catastrophe, imminent impoverishment of the farming sector due to climate change, are evidently palatable and digestible outcomes.  Interest, suggested McKenzie, should instead be shown for those workers who, in erecting solar panels, ended up mowing the grass underneath them.

      • Over 530 Arrested in Historic Indigenous-Led Climate Protests in DC
      • ‘We’re Not Stopping’: Weeklong D.C. Climate Protests End With 650+ Arrests, Vows to Fight On

        Earth protectors and climate campaigners from across the continent Indigenous peoples call Turtle Island vowed to keep up the fight as they marched on Friday, the final day of action in the “People vs. Fossil Fuels Mobilization,” a weeklong series of protests in Washington, D.C. in which over 600 demonstrators were arrested as they demanded that President Joe Biden and Congress act in the face of a planetary emergency.

        “We need climate action now. We are out of time to address this issue.”

      • Opinion | There’s Only One Way to Save the World From Climate Armageddon

        This summer we witnessed, with brutal clarity, the Beginning of the End: the end of Earth as we know it—a world of lush forests, bountiful croplands, livable cities, and survivable coastlines. In its place, we saw the early manifestations of a climate-damaged planet, with scorched forests, parched fields, scalding cities, and storm-wracked coastlines. In a desperate bid to prevent far worse, leaders from around the world will soon gather in Glasgow, Scotland, for a U.N. Climate Summit. You can count on one thing, though: all their plans will fall far short of what’s needed unless backed by the only strategy that can save the planet: a U.S.-China Climate Survival Alliance.

      • Energy

        • To Find Out If ExxonMobil Really Supports a Carbon Tax, Just Follow the Money

          Wood’s reaction was reminiscent of Captain Louis Renault feigning surprise to discover gambling at Rick’s Café in the 1942 film “Casablanca.” After quietly pocketing his winnings, Renault justifies closing down the nightclub by exclaiming, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

          Woods was shocked? Really? Just one look at his company’s financial records would show that despite claiming to endorse a carbon tax—initially in a cynical attempt to derail a cap-and-trade bill that was under consideration in 2009—ExxonMobil has funneled millions of dollars over the last decade to lawmakers who staunchly oppose the idea.

        • Tory Climate Policies are ‘Socialist’ Says New Head of Policy at Influential Westminster Think Tank

          An influential think tank with close ties to MPs has hired a head of policy who called the government’s climate policies “socialist” and likened proposed green legislation to a “Soviet Five Year Plan”. 

          Matthew Lesh, who was head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, this week confirmed he would be taking up a new role at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a free market think tank with a history of criticising green government policies. 

        • Bobby Lewis on One America News, Jean Su on People vs. Fossil Fuels

          This week on CounterSpin: “If you have 12 Americans being fed a diet of untruth, that’s 12 too many.” So says John Watson, an American University journalism professor specializing in ethics and media law. He’s talking about OAN, or One America News Network, and its audience, which has been told, among other things, that Donald Trump really won the 2020 election and that chemical cocktails are a better response to Covid-19 than government-authorized vaccines. We’ll talk about how we got here with Bobby Lewis, researcher and editorial writer from Media Matters.

        • Jack Dorsey’s Square Considers Building a Bitcoin Mining System

          Dorsey said in a thread on Twitter that the company would follow a hardware wallet model and “build in the open in collaboration with the community.”

        • Jack Dorsey says Square may build a bitcoin mining system, adding to bitcoin price surge

          Dorsey’s goal would be to make [cryptocurrency] mining — the process of creating new bitcoins by solving increasingly complex computational problems — more accessible, much as Square’s original vision was to make it easier for small businesses and independent proprietors to take credit card payments. He wrote that bitcoin mining should be “as easy as plugging a rig into a power source.” Today, the bitcoin mining industry is dominated by large-scale players who can afford to buy tens of thousands of ASICs, the type of specialty gear used to mint new coin.

        • The Great Mining Migration

          China’s Cryptocurrency Crackdown has been dramatically effective. The total hashrate dropped by over a half from its peak before recovering. As I write it is still down about 15% from the peak.

          The latest figures from the Cambridge Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index provide more detail on what happened. In May China was producing 70.9 Exahash/sec and 44% of the total, as against 75% in 2019. In July, it produced none, triggering the collapse in the hash rate.

        • Raido Saar: Cryptocurrency companies facing another gauntlet

          Almost four years ago, RAB (still part of the Police and Border Guard Board at the time) started issuing cryptocurrency licenses in Estonia. Corresponding regulation was drawn up carelessly and hastily and led to a situation where over 1,500 crypto firms had been registered a few years later. Many were made to be sold as corporate shells, with considerable demand from foreign customers.

          It needs to be said in hindsight that while registering cryptocurrency companies was the right call for an innovative e-state, the hack regulation was a mistake. The poisonous fruits of that mistake is what the head of RAB is trying to combat with what little resources he has, and we find that he has been successful.

        • Epic says it’s ‘open’ to blockchain games after Steam bans them

          Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney has said that the company isn’t interested in touching NFTs, but that statement now appears to only apply to its own games. Epic tells The Verge that it will clarify the rules as it works with developers to understand how they plan to use blockchain tech in their games. Sweeney also tweeted some additional thoughts after we published this story: he says Epic welcomes “innovation in the areas of technology and finance,” and suggests that blockchain isn’t inherently good or bad.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Opinion | Kunming Declaration’s 30×30 Biodiversity Target Is a Good Start, But Not Nearly Enough

          The recently issued Kunming Declaration from the High-Level Segment of the United Nations Biodiversity Conference lays the foundation for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) to be negotiated next year. Its stated goal is to reverse the extinction crisis and build an “ecological civilization,” and it includes an important reference to a new proposed area-based target:

        • ‘Embarrassing’: US Absent as World Joins Together to Protect Biodiversity

          As the United Nations Biodiversity Conference wrapped up Friday, critics are once again pointing to the glaring absence of the United States from negotiations to strengthen an international treaty to restore and protect the variety of life on Earth that has been ratified by every country except the U.S.

          “The world cannot afford for China and the U.S. to not find ways to work together to address climate change and nature loss.”

        • The United States Must Rejoin the Global Biodiversity Conservation Community

          The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is moving full speed ahead on the creation of a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that is expected to be finalized and adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15, scheduled to take place, in-person, in Kunming, China, next year. The first part of the negotiations started on Monday, with meetings to take place virtually through Friday of this week. The United States, however, is not at the table helping to shape that Framework as an official member. Why?

          Check the “List of Parties” page on the CBD website, and you’ll find a long, numbered list of nation states, 196 in total. But there are also two unnumbered entries at the very bottom: the “Holy See” and then, dead last, “United States of America.” The U.S. did sign the agreement in 1993, a year after the CBD was established at the historic 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, but never ratified it. Hence the ignominious bottom-of-the-pile spot it occupies today. And not only is the U.S. not a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity, it hasn’t joined the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) either.

        • Opinion | The Common Sense Case for More Urban Parks

          We all have our own coping mechanisms to get us through the pandemic. For many of us, a visit to a park offers respite in times of stress. But it’s increasingly clear that there aren’t enough parks to meet that crucial need—especially in urban neighborhoods.

        • Brazil, Amazon, World: Crimes Against Humanity

          Take Article 10 of the Bill of Rights of the New Hampshire Constitution (1784) for starters: “The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good happiness of mankind”. Then, the Grundgesetz, the constitutional law of Germany (1949), recognises in Article 20 (4) the “right to resist any person seeking to abolish this constitutional order, if no other remedy is available.” We have come to this. We’re in an almost full-blown form of fascism that has taken the whole planet to the brink of extinction. There is no “other remedy” or notable institutional effort to counter the erosion of constitutional rights. Surely unity based on upholding principles of justice has to be stronger than the veneer of unity derived from submission to authority. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stresses that human beings are endowed with “reason and conscience”. If we don’t uphold human rights, “reason and conscience” are empty words. But they can also be our strength because, as Thomas Paine knew a long time ago, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again”.

          We can claim our rights, and the rights of all those who haven’t got voices to claim them. And also start to deal with the evildoers. Some of today’s worst crimes are happening in Brazil, perpetrated by the world’s worst (genocidal and ecocidal) criminals. With impunity. Some progress to protect the Amazon and its peoples was made in Brazil after the dictatorships when the new Constitution (1988) codified Indigenous rights, including the right to tribal homelands. Since so much of the Amazon is Indigenous territory and, owing to the people’s understanding of the inseparable relations of human and natural existence, Indigenous sovereignty became an essential part of Brazilian environmental policy. Indigenous people represent about 5% of the world’s population. Fighting for their ancestral lands, they are also trying to protect some 85% of the planet’s biodiversity. Hence, the crimes of ethnocide and ecocide are closely linked. And the rise of fascistoid forms of power should tell us—if only we are able to look carefully enough—that the rights and wellbeing of any one person critically depend on the rights and wellbeing of others.

        • Why Ecology Is the Infrastructure of the Future

          When Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast 16 years after Hurricane Katrina, all eyes were on New Orleans’s new levee system. The levees that had failed so disastrously in 2005 had been rebuilt—and this time they held. You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief, but MacArthur award–winning landscape designer Kate Orff believes that “gray infrastructure” (levees, flood gates, and sea walls) can only take us so far. The infrastructure we really need, she says, is green. Orff, recently profiled in The New Yorker, insists that ecology is the infrastructure of the future. Her work with SCAPE Studio restores and harnesses—rather than resists—natural systems to ensure the livability of our rapidly changing world.

        • Species Spotlight: The Greater Hog Badger, Cornered by a Hunting-Driven Extinction Crisis
    • Finance

      • Opinion | The High-Paid Media Types Are Unhappy Workers Are Demanding Fair Wages
      • Why Americans Don’t Know What’s in the Build Back Better Act

        Yet, polling also shows that despite President Biden having introduced this proposal five months ago, a majority of Americans have very little knowledge as to what is in this bill – one of the most consequential pieces of legislation for working people in the modern history of our country. Americans can be for the bill. They can be opposed to the bill. But it is absurd that so many of them don’t know what is in the bill.

        Why is that? There are a number of reasons but, at the top of the list, is the reality that the mainstream media has done an exceptionally poor job in covering what actually is in the legislation. There have been endless stories about the politics of passing Build Back Better, the role of the president, the conflicts in the House and the Senate, the opposition of two senators, the size of the bill, etc. – but very limited coverage as to what the provisions of the bill are and the crises for working people that they address.

      • Corporations Shouldn’t be Masters of Our Fate
      • The Future of Social Security: What If We Make It Bigger?

        According to their report, if nothing changes, the trust fund is fully funded through 2033. After that, the benefits are 74 percent payable (down from 79 percent in last year’s report). The fund has a projected shortfall of 3.54 percent of payroll over the next 75 years. This shortfall is a fairly large increase compared to last year’s projection of 3.21 percent of payroll. The report attributes virtually all this increase to advancements in the economic models used to forecast the fund’s future (things like birth rates, labor force demographics, etc.)

        A shortfall of 3.54 percent of payroll means that payroll taxes would need to be increased by 3.54 percentage points to fully fund the program. While this would constitute a relatively modest increase, no tax increase is unimpactful, particularly for low-income workers. However, the Trustees project substantial increases in wages over the next 75 years. That growth overwhelms the impact of the tax increase.

      • French Finance Minister Issues Declaration of Independence – From the U.S.

        It is not surprising that the differences relate to China after the brouhaha over the sale of U.S. nuclear submarines to Australia and the surprising (to the French) cancellation of contracts with France for submarines.  Mr. LeMaire, sounding very much like a reproving parent, characterized this as “misbehavior from the U.S. administration.”

        Mr. LeMaire made it crystal clear that the disagreement over submarines is symptomatic of deeper differences in world view that have emerged not only in France but in the EU as a consequence of China’s rise.  The article states:

      • Ousted by AOC, Joe Crowley Now Lobbying Against Tax Hikes on Corporate Giants

        Soon after losing his 2018 primary against progressive newcomer Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in a major political upset, 10-term Congressman Joe Crowley joined one of K Street’s largest lobbying outfits, and fresh reporting reveals that the former chair of the House Democratic Caucus is now working to torpedo his party’s proposed tax hikes on corporations and the wealthy.

        A recently filed document on the Senate’s disclosure website shows that Crowley and other lobbyists at Squire Patton Boggs—a massive corporate law firm whose clients include Amazon, Royal Dutch Shell, UnitedHealth, and the Saudi monarchy—were hired in July by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), “one of Wall Street’s most powerful advocacy groups,” The Intercept reported Friday.

      • Ignore the Naysayers. A Full-Employment Recovery Is Possible.

        It feels like eons ago, but as recently as March the Democrats took major action to address the ongoing Covid-19 recession with the American Rescue Plan. Yet ever since Congress passed the legislation, there have been critics, both conservative and centrist, who have attacked the plan for being too big and doing too much. Over the spring and summer, these naysayers made two dire predictions. Both proved wrong, but instead of pausing to reevaluate the policies they’d attacked, the critics continued at the same volume, moving the goalposts with brand-new claims.

      • Squid Game, Capitalist Game

        I believe that Squid Game is one of the best aesthetic depictions of the essential situation of capitalism: it reveals the destructive social fabric that capitalism generates, especially the profound barbarism that exists in our society behind the thinnest of veneers. It is hardly surprising that the series comes from South Korea, a country that has undergone capitalist development in one of its purest, most savage versions recently.

        The “updated” children’s games that appear in the series have much in common with modern team sports, almost all of which – soccer, American football, basketball, and baseball among others – were born in the nineteenth-century epoch of industrial capitalism in the US and the UK. What is remarkable about these games is not play, which even animals do, but rules. The concepts of fair play and an equal playing field both belong to this new world of rule-based interactions, reflecting the novel social situation typical of capitalism in which birth status, station, and caste do not, in principle, affect one’s position in the society. This differs sharply from the feudal, tributary, and slave-based societies that preceded capitalism.

      • The American Way—2021

        Refugees from wars and nature’s revenge populate places while they await a future based on the whim of those who fear and even hate them. Other refugees, victims of capitalist upheaval and the neuroses even psychoses such an economy spawns live out their lives under bridges, in aqueducts bled dry, on city streets and in jails. Much of the world truly believes it is the unhoused poor’s fault they have no home except a tent and no medicine except a drink. The wealthy and their media encourage this perception while they squirrel away the cash they haven’t spent, their own psychosis portrayed as a virtue; to have more wealth than anyone can ever spend in a hundred lifetimes. Politicians of almost every stripe wager with our children’s futures for another few years of their benefactors’ profits, unwilling to acknowledge the Faustian nature of their dealing or in many cases not caring.

        Parallel universes exist side by side as if they are in different dimensions. Capitalism’s casualties eat breakfasts scrounged from unfinished meals of the citizens—some who are but a few thousand dollars away from a similar, shared fate. In the belly of the beast, the whores of capitalism posturing as politicians contemplate destroying the shell game they call the economy for reasons composed of spite, hatred, and greed. Their blindness and stupidity doesn’t seem to provide them with the obvious: the destruction of the economy will not leave them untouched. Perhaps their goal is to create a Pinochet-style economy and regime. Or maybe an echo of the Russian debacle under Yeltsin; the one the capitalist press called a miracle. Potential profits made on the destruction of lives too numerous to count. It’s a great system when you’re near the soulless top of it.

      • Ocasio-Cortez Slams GOP for Lying About Effects of Unemployment Insurance
      • Perpetuating Poverty: Tech and Temp Workers

        “The issues of temp work aren’t just about an extra few dollars an hour,” DeSario told me, “it’s the larger system of “temporary” staffing. Temp jobs promise a path to permanent work, but the industry profits by perpetuating poverty for working people, keeping us stuck in low-wage permatemp positions for years, working hard but falling behind. It’s about being denied a fair chance at ever getting ahead.”

        Such denial is the business model of tech firms where temp workers labor. Employer promises to temp workers of becoming permanent workers are hollow. Just ask Gina DePelsMaeker, who blogged about her eight years as a temp worker for Dow Inc. Kelly IT Services was the staffing agency that contracted with Dow for her labor. During that time, Gina lacked employer-provided health care insurance. She did not receive employer-matching contributions to her 401K, either.  https://www.tempworkerjustice.org/blog

      • Cherry-Picking Polls to Hide Public Support for Biden’s Spending Plan

        Washington Post columnist Henry Olsen (9/30/21) lauded Sen. Joe Manchin’s opposition to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package being considered by Congress, because Manchin “correctly reads public opinion.”

      • Roaming Charges: Supply Chain of Fools

        The attempt of the elites to restrict voting rights to their own propertied class has been one the of the defining features of American “democracy”. From 1789 to 1835, free black men were able to vote in Tennessee, Virginia & North Carolina, (as well as many northern states). Even slave owners like Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston campaigned for their votes. But after Nat Turner’s rebellion in 1831, when human “property” rose up against the ownership class, most of the southern states, freaked out at the revelation of just how tenuous their grip on power really was, enacted new constitutions outlawing black suffrage, while the northern states, even the ones which mouthed the rhetoric of abolition, enacted Black Codes, deny black suffrage, prohibiting blacks on juries and even restricting black residence (In Ohio, blacks had to pay bonds when they entered to the state). Illinois enacted its Black Codes in 1858, and despite repeated pleas from abolitions and black activists in Chicago, Lincoln, two years from being elected president, refused to speak out against it.

        Less than six months after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, the southern states began enacting their own Black Codes which were nearly has onerous as the old peculiar institution itself. South Carolina passed a law ordering blacks confined to their former plantations, restricted the right to travel, and compelled them to work off their freedom in the fields for 12 hours a day. Mississippi made it a crime punishable by flogging and forced labor in work camps for blacks to hunt or fish, thereby making them even more dependent on white businesses for food. Florida enacted a vaguely worded statute that made it a felony for blacks to ride in public transport or to display “disrespect” for their white employers or business owners. The punishment was to be publicly whipped and locked in a pillory.

      • There Are No Borders for the Rich

        You’d think it a reasonable assumption that the people most invested in the idea of the nation-state would be the same people who lead them; that the men (and regrettably, it is mostly men) who go out of their way to run for president, weasel their way into a parliamentary post, or seize power by other means would want to maintain the facade that their borders, their anthems, and their founding myths mean something. You’d think that a figure whose rhetoric leans on national pride would put faith in his country and its people and that an individual charged with shaping policy would at least feign confidence in the bylaws of his own making.

      • Billionaires Barely Pay Taxes — Here’s How They Get Away With It

        The report, copublished by the Institute for Policy Studies and Americans for Tax Fairness, examines pandemic-era wealth accumulation by U.S. billionaires. Since it was last updated in August, the estimated wealth of all of these astoundingly rich individuals has only exploded further. But despite their individual economic growth, the country’s richest people often manage to pay exactly $0 in federal income taxes. ProPublica’s widely read, ongoing, in-depth reporting on “a vast trove” of recently leaked Internal Revenue Service (IRS) documents revealed that billionaires like Bezos and Musk have all avoided paying any federal income taxes in previous years — some for multiple years, in fact.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Corrupt politicians in Gurnee, Illinois hand half a million dollars in taxpayer money to the Hobby Lobby Crime Syndicate for 35 jobs. – BaronHK’s Rants

        Corrupt politicians in Gurnee, Illinois hand half a million in taxpayer money to the Hobby Lobby Crime Syndicate for 35 jobs.

        Just from punching that into my little calculator app, that’s precisely half a million dollars too much for 35 minimum wage jobs from a criminal outfit.

        Illinois, having a long history of corruption, and the Green Family having a history of using Hobby Lobby as a front to steal historical artifacts from the Middle East and then negotiate with the feds for a slap on the wrist, how much does anyone want to bet that there was some bribery involved?

      • New Study Reveals Poor, Low-Income Voters Were Crucial in Toppling Trump in 2020

        “Rather than writing white low-income voters off, it is possible to build coalitions of low-income voters across race around a political agenda that centers the issues they have in common.”

        “While mechanisms to increase registration are important for low-income voters, there is an even greater need for policies and legislation that increase their ability to cast a ballot and actually vote.”

      • Macedonian Ramble: the Ghost Train to Tirana

        When not reading my fireside books, I was plotting my train journey for the next day by consulting an old Cook’s Continental Timetable (if the trains are thirty years old, then why not have a schedule of the same vintage?) and several rail maps that I had copied from the internet.

        I also had from the website The Man in Seat 61 (devoted to rail passenger service around the world) an updated schedule, which showed an 8:15 a.m. train to Elbasan and Pogradec, the town on the border with North Macedonia to which I was headed (although there was some uncertainty in the posts about when the line ran between Elbasan and Pogradec).

      • ‘Disgusting’: Rahm Emanuel Confirmation Vote to Be Held on 7th Anniversary of Laquan McDonald’s Murder

        Despite outspoke opposition to his nomination, a confirmation vote for Rahm Emanuel to become U.S. Ambassador to Japan has reportedly been scheduled for next week, October 20—a date that critics of the disgraced former Chicago mayor immediately pointed out is the seventh anniversary of the police killing of Laquan McDonald.

        “It’s disgusting that Rahm Emanuel’s confirmation hearing is being held on the 7 year anniversary of Laquan McDonald’s murder,” tweeted RootsAction, a progressive advocacy group that has campaigned against Emanuel’s appointment specifically for withholding police video of McDonald’s killing—which took place on Oct. 20, 2014—from the public while running for reelection in 2015.

      • Imagine a World with U.S.-China Cooperation

        At the moment, however, the governments of the two nations seem far from a cooperative relationship. Indeed, intensely suspicious of one another, the United States and China are increasing their military spending, developing new nuclear weapons, engaging in heated quarrels over territorial issues, and sharpening their economic competition. Disputes over the status of Taiwan and the South China Sea are particularly likely flashpoints for war.

        But imagine the possibilities if the United States and China did cooperate. After all, these countries possess the world’s two largest military budgets and the two biggest economies, are the two leading consumers of energy, and have a combined population of nearly 1.8 billion people. Working together, they could exercise enormous influence in world affairs.

      • What Kind of a Threat is Russia?

        No matter how much the U.S. may disagree with one or another of Russia and China’s domestic policies, Mueller believes that both countries are more interested in getting rich and receiving the recognition they believe is their due as world powers than in military conquest. Mueller writes that “neither state seems to harbor Hitler-like dreams of extensive expansion by military means, and to a considerable degree it seems sensible for other countries, including the United States, to accept, and even service, such vaporous, cosmetic, and substantially meaningless goals.”

        Yet among the legacies of the first Cold War was the creation of a self-anointed caste of foreign policy alarmists in Washington who, according to Mueller, specialize in inferring “desperate intent from apparent capacity.” Well, plus ça change… U.S. policy toward Putin’s Russia remains driven by threat inflation, emotion and the duplicitous lobbying of various foreign interest groups on Capitol Hill, rather than a level-headed assessment of American national security interests.

      • AT&T and OAN: Not-So-Strange Bedfellows

        A report linking AT&T, one of the US’s most powerful telecommunications corporations, to the far-right One American News Network has been presented as a “bombshell” revelation (Daily Beast, 10/6/21; Poynter, 10/7/21; Guardian, 10/7/21) about the connection between big capital and Trumpian populism. The question is: Should it be so surprising?

      • 75 Percent of Democrats Want Party to Go Big on Social Spending, Climate Action
      • Why Won’t New York’s Top Democrats Back the Democratic Nominee for Mayor of Buffalo?

        The race for governor of New York won’t be decided for more than a year, but potential contenders for the Democratic nomination are lining up on different sides of the question of whether their party’s leaders should back the Democratic nominee for mayor of the second-largest city in the state. New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is all in for India Walton, the choice of Democratic primary voters for mayor of Buffalo. But another prospective contender, US Representative Tom Suozzi, swooped into Buffalo last weekend to endorse the candidate Walton beat in the primary, incumbent Mayor Bryon Brown, who is mounting a sore-loser write-in campaign with substantial support from Republicans. Meanwhile, Governor Kathy Hochul, who hails from the Buffalo region, is taking hits for refusing to endorse Walton. What gives?

      • Head of Koch-Tied Group Urges Sinema to ‘Stay Strong’ as She Opposes Tax Hikes on Rich

        The head of a right-wing organization with ties to the Koch network offered words of encouragement to Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Thursday amid reports that she’s holding up her party’s budget reconciliation package over its proposed tax hikes on the rich and big businesses.

        “It’s wrong that she is helping profitable big corporations avoid taxes.”

      • New Filing Reveals Sinema Pads Campaign Coffers With More Pharma and Finance Funds

        U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the right-wing Arizona Democrat obstructing her party’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill, is the recent beneficiary of six-figure largesse from pharma- and finance-linked donors apparently rewarding her opposition to the flagship social and climate investment legislation, according to campaign finance disclosures filed Friday.

        Politico and The Daily Poster report that Sinema raised over $1.1 million between July and September, with 90% of the campaign donations coming from outside Arizona. At least $100,000 of those contributions came from individuals or entities linked to the pharmaceutical and financial services industries.

      • LinkedIn Loses Its China Connection

        LinkedIn’s troubles in China came to the fore in March, when it paused new Chinese sign-ups and was given 30 days by China’s internet regulator to further police content on its platform. The pressure led LinkedIn to block the profiles of several activists and academics from being viewed in China, regardless of whether they were residents or not.

        It’s not the end for Microsoft in China. It still makes software that is widely used, and its search engine Bing is still available in a country where Google is not. Even LinkedIn in China won’t go fully dark, as the company plans on retooling as a pure jobs board, removing any features that could run afoul of Chinese regulators.

      • Microsoft shuts down LinkedIn in China

        LinkedIn will replace its localized platform in China with a new app called InJobs that has some of LinkedIn’s career-networking features but “will not include a social feed or the ability to share posts or articles.”

      • LinkedIn to Shut Down Service in China, Citing ‘Challenging’ Environment

        LinkedIn’s action ends what had been one of the most far-reaching experiments by a foreign social network in China, where the internet is closely controlled by the government. Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in the country for years, and Google left more than a decade ago. China’s internet, which operates behind a system of filters known as the Great Firewall, is heavily censored and has gone in its own direction.

      • Microsoft to Shut Down LinkedIn in China Over Censorship Concerns

        LinkedIn is not completely leaving the Chinese market. It will now offer something called InJobs, which will not have a social feed and will not allow users to share content, Reuters reported.

        LinkedIn was the only U.S.-based social networking site still available to Chinese users.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Billy Mitchell Survives Anti-SLAPP Motion From Twin Galaxies A Second Time

        The Billy Mitchell and Twin Galaxies saga rolls on, it seems. Mitchell has made it onto our pages several times in the past, most recently over a lawsuit filed against gaming record keepers Twin Galaxies over its decision to un-award his high score record for Donkey Kong on allegations he achieved it on an emulator instead of an official cabinet. The suit is for defamation and Twin Galaxies initially tried to get the case tossed on anti-SLAPP grounds, but the court denied that request under the notion that Mitchell only has to show “minimal merit” in the overall case to defeat the anti-SLAPP motion.

      • Fed up of Facebook’s censorship, Vienna sends nudes to OnlyFans

        Vienna Tourist Board is on OnlyFans. Yes you read that right, the Austrian capital has taken to the subscriber-only site better known for pornography, to showcase its nude art.

        In a bid to attract more real life visitors – and make a bold statement about the place of nude art in Western culture – the tourist board has uploaded photos of naked muses painted by the likes of Modigliani.

      • France honours ‘quiet hero’ teacher killed for showing Prophet Mohammed cartoons

        His killer, 18-year-old Chechen refugee Abdullakh Anzorov, who had been living in France for years, claimed the attack as revenge for Paty showing his class the Mohammed cartoons in a lesson on free speech.

        On Saturday, several ceremonies will be held in memory of the popular teacher hailed by President Emmanuel Macron as a “quiet hero” of the French republic.

      • Congress vs. “the algorithm”

        How it works: The bill would modify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects websites from liability over content posted by their users.

      • House Democrats target algorithms in liability shield bill

        Driving the news: House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone’s (D-NJ) Justice Against Malicious Algorithms Act would remove Section 230 protections for online platforms if: [...]

      • Pastor Killed for Proclaiming Christ to Muslims, Sources Say

        Pastor Simon Okot of Life of God Ministry in Namwenda village said Pastor Musana drew the ire of area Muslims while holding evangelistic events and public debates about Christianity and Islam.

      • One year after the killing of Samuel Paty – the opinion of French 18-30 year olds on this Islamist attack: 23% “not totally” condemn the Islamist perpetrator

        One year after the beheading of Samuel Paty, our Ifop survey shows that the opinion of 18-30 year olds on this Islamist attack remains ambiguous. While they say they are “shocked”, one in five refuse to appreciate the teacher’s educational efforts.

      • France: Muslims threaten to kill pupils for imitating Muslim prayer

        It all started with a video shot in a private setting in January that was not intended for broadcast. According to the newspaper, the 17-second film, shot during a birthday party, shows the youths, who were in ninth grade at the time, laughing as they imitate Muslims praying. Nevertheless, the footage was posted on Twitter and Instagram in early October, triggering a stream of abuse and death threats. Unlike the case of Mila, who was accused by her harassers of publicly insulting Islam, “this is more of a very silly goings-on,” a source familiar with the case told Ouest France. “But we can see that it is already getting out of control.The pseudonyms and sometimes even the real names of the youths were published on social networks. The investigators therefore claim that they are taking the matter seriously. A few days after the first broadcast of the video and the filing of the first complaints, on Wednesday October 13, they were still in the consultation phase.But then they began to identify the anonymous user accounts behind which the abusers were hiding. They face up to five years in prison. At the same time, their school headmasters and parents’ associations say they are careful not to stigmatise them and warn students not to misuse social networks.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Turkish Media Face 18 Trials in One Week

        Lawyers and media rights groups say the trials show how Turkey’s laws on terrorism and protests can be used to detain or harass journalists.

        Nearly all those in court this week face accusations of belonging to or creating propaganda for a terrorist organization—often a reference to the militant group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Others face charges of defying Law 2911, which regulates public meetings and demonstrations, according to the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), a Turkey-based group that offers legal support to journalists.

        Media who cover protests can sometimes be accused of organizing an illegal gathering. And in April, Turkey’s Interior Ministry issued an order requiring journalists to have permits for covering approved protests.

        Some rights lawyers have said the ruling appears designed to silence journalists.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Opinion | A Zen Koan on Columbus Day

        It’s too easy, right? Too simple—shoving Christopher Columbus off the historical honor roll, pulling down his statues, yanking his “day” away from him and renaming it in honor of the people he murdered, kidnapped, turned into property?

      • Progressives to Biden: Ignore Panel Advice and Embrace Supreme Court Expansion

        Progressive lawmakers and advocacy groups on Friday urged President Joe Biden to disregard the advice of a bipartisan panel he convened earlier this year and embrace Democratic legislation that would add four justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, an effort aimed at combating the right-wing takeover of the nation’s judicial system.

        “Democrats must move swiftly to pass the Judiciary Act to add four seats to the court before it’s too late.”

      • We Reported on a County That Has Jailed Kids for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Readers Reacted.

        In 2016, in Rutherford County, Tennessee, 11 kids were arrested, the youngest just 8 years old. The arrested kids were accused of not stopping a scuffle involving two 5- and 6-year-old boys who were throwing punches at a larger boy. At least one of the kids arrested did try to step in. Some of the others hadn’t even been there. More importantly, the formal charge approved by judicial commissioners — “criminal responsibility for conduct of another” — is not even a crime.

        The police arrested four of the kids directly from school. Their principal, Tammy Garrett, collected three of them from their classrooms at an officer’s insistence.

      • “People vs. Fossil Fuels”: Over 530 Arrested in Historic Indigenous-Led Climate Protests in D.C.

        This week over 530 climate activists were arrested during Indigenous-led civil disobedience actions in Washington, D.C., calling on President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and stop approving fossil fuel projects. Indigenous leaders have issued a series of demands, including the abolition of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, whose offices they occupied on Thursday for the first time since the 1970s. The protests come just weeks before the start of the critical U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, which President Biden and senior Cabinet members are expected to attend. “We’re not going anywhere,” says Siqiñiq Maupin, with Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic, who traveled from Alaska to D.C. and was among those arrested during the BIA occupation. “We do not have time for negotiations, for compromises. We need to take this serious and take action now.” We also speak with Joye Braun, with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Indigenous Environmental Network, who was deeply involved in the Standing Rock protests to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. “The United States government brought the frontlines to us, to the Indigenous people, to our doorsteps,” says Braun. “And we wanted to bring the frontlines to his doorstep to let him see that we are very serious about climate change and declaring a climate emergency.”

      • Cori Bush Slams GOP Governor for Threat to Prosecute Reporter: “Shame on You”
      • A Death Trap? As 12th Prisoner Dies at NYC’s Rikers Island, Calls Grow to Close World’s Largest Jail

        We take an in-depth look at the growing humanitarian crisis at the world’s largest jail complex, Rikers Island in New York City. After touring the jail, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams describes it as “a disaster.” In response to mounting public pressure, most of the women and transgender people at Rikers are being transferred to two prisons, including a maximum-security facility, even as most are still awaiting trial. “It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound,” says Anisah Sabur, who was formerly incarcerated at Rikers and one of the prisons and is now a leader with the HALT Solitary Campaign. Prosecutors and judges “hold the keys to Rikers,” notes Jullian Harris-Calvin, director of the Greater Justice New York program at the Vera Institute of Justice, who says they must be pressured to continue bail reform and not fall prey to misconceptions about crime rates, and instead adopt measures to adequately address public safety. “We need to make bail affordable or just release them,” Harris-Calvin says.

      • Here Come the Abortion Bounty Hunters

        Texas’s cruel new anti-abortion law is more than just an unconstitutional restriction on reproductive choice. It’s also an egregious new frontier in late capitalism.

        In addition to banning abortion beyond six weeks into pregnancy, the Texas law allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps a person abort a pregnancy, promising $10,000 payments for the bounty hunters.

      • Resisting Fascism: A Review of Shane Burley’s Why We Fight

        Wisely, journalist Shane Burley bypasses this debate in his new collection of essays Why We Fight: Essays on Fascism, Resistance, and Surviving the Apocalypse. It’s clear there are both similarities and differences between classical fascism, on the one hand, and Trumpism and the modern far-right on the other. (For this reason, one might call the latter neofascism or proto-fascism, as an acknowledgement of the valid points made on both sides of the debate.) Instead, Burley takes it for granted, and illustrates throughout his book, that a vast constellation of groups and individuals on the right today have salient fascist characteristics and would happily tear down democracy if they could. Why We Fight consists mostly of articles Burley has published in recent years shedding light on these shadowy groups, this underworld of the Alt-Right and its relatives.

        In seventeen chapters, Burley illuminates the methods and varieties of both fascist and anti-fascist organizing. Among the topics he covers are the rise and fall of the Alt-Right, from 2008 to the aftermath of the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in 2017; the nature of the “Alt-Light,” a less extreme version of the far-right that coalesced around figures like Milo Yiannopoulos, Alex Jones, and online “manosphere” leader Mike Cernovich; the toxic cult of masculinity that unites a wide range of far-right groups; the world of fascist publishing in Europe and the U.S., led by companies like Arktos Media and Counter-Currents that are dedicated to “creating the intellectual foundation for a new fascism” (p. 151); attempts by anti-fascists to colonize cultural spaces that have often attracted fascists, such as soccer, gun clubs, mixed martial arts, the paganism and heathenry subculture, and, in music, black metal and neofolk; the deep-rooted and continuing appeal of antisemitism to the far-right; and even the remarkable Kurdish experiment in an anarchist, anti-fascist society at Rojava. Altogether, the book gives a nuanced and compelling picture of the highly fragmented, internally divided, typically amateurish, but very frightening world of the contemporary far-right—from the Proud Boys to militia organizations, from journalist provocateurs like Andy Ngô to the neo-Confederate Council of Conservative Citizens (founded in 1985), from “lone wolf” mass shooters to student groups like Turning Point USA that seek to intimidate and silence left-wing voices at college campuses.

      • “Long March for Justice” Underway Across New Jersey to Demand Police Reform, Reparations

        We get an update from New Jersey, where the People’s Organization for Progress is leading a 67-mile march to demand the state Legislature pass legislation to hold police accountable. The nine-day march wraps up Saturday, and activists are demanding passage of a state policy that would give police review boards subpoena power, ban and criminalize chokeholds, establish requirements for use of deadly force and end qualified immunity in New Jersey. At the national level, they are calling for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. “We know that electoral politics alone is not enough,” says Larry Hamm, chair of the People’s Organization for Progress, when asked about his activism following his run for the U.S. Senate this past year. “The primary antidote to police brutality is the organized and mobilized people.”

      • “Striketober” Roars as Nearly 100,000 Workers Authorize Work Stoppages
      • Opinion | Strike Wave Exemplifies Why We Need More Unions

        Ten thousand John Deere workers went on strike Thursday. Sixty thousand IATSE members may be on strike by Monday. They will join the thousands of nurses, miners, hospital workers, factory workers, and others already on strike across America. Here we are, in our long-awaited strike wave. What does this thrilling development tell the labor movement about what its future direction should be? 

      • Journalists In St. Louis Discover State Agency Is Revealing Teacher Social Security Numbers; Governors Vows To Prosecute Journalists As Hackers

        Last Friday, Missouri’s Chief Information Security Officer Stephen Meyer stepped down after 21 years working for the state to go into the private sector. His timing is noteworthy because it seems like Missouri really could use someone in their government who understands basic cybersecurity right now.

      • Comparing France to Afghanistan is an insult to the women oppressed by the Taliban

        France is trying to defend Enlightenment values – which is more that can be said for most Western countries. The ridiculous comparisons of France to the Taliban reflects poorly on Muslims who proliferate this argument. Instead of demonising France and spreading nonsense accusations, they should focus on Muslim countries that are actually violating even basic human rights.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • GOP Very Excited To Be Handed An FCC Voting Majority By Joe Biden

        Consumer groups have grown all-too-politely annoyed at the Biden administration’s failure to pick a third Democratic Commissioner and permanent FCC boss nearly eight months into his term. After the rushed Trump appointment of unqualified Trump ally Nathan Simington to the agency (as part of that dumb and now deceased plan to have the FCC regulate social media), the agency now sits gridlocked at 2-2 commissioners under interim FCC head Jessica Rosenworcel.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • ‘How Many More People Must Die?’ EU, UK Under Fire for Tanking Patent Waiver Talks

          The latest meeting of the World Trade Organization’s intellectual property council ended Thursday without a deal to suspend coronavirus vaccine patents as the United Kingdom, Germany, and other rich European nations continued to stand in the way, shielding the pharmaceutical industry’s stranglehold on production of the lifesaving shots.

          “Our current inequality in access to Covid-19 vaccines is morally unacceptable.”

      • Trademarks

        • Trader Joe’s Threatens Man Over Parody ‘Traitor Joe’ Political T-Shirt

          The last time we found niche grocery chain Trader Joe’s playing intellectual property bully, it was over one enterprising Canadian man who drove across the border, bought a bunch of good stuff from Trader Joe’s, and then resold it at his Canadian store called “Pirate Joe’s”. While that whole setup is entertaining, Trader Joe’s sued for trademark infringement in the United States, which made zero sense. The store was in Canada, not the States, reselling purchased items is not trademark infringement, and Trader Joe’s was free to open up Canadian stores if it chose.

      • Copyrights

        • Suing Infrastructure Companies for Copyright Violations

          I was an expert witness for Cloudflare in this case, basically explaining to the court how the service works.

        • ‘Copyright Troll’ Boss Faces Arrest Over Failed Payments in Piracy Case

          Malibu Media, an adult entertainment company that has collected settlements from thousands of pirates over the years, is now facing legal issues of its own. An Illinois federal court has ordered the arrest of Malibu’s CEO after the company failed to pay compensation to a falsely accused Internet subscriber. The order is conditioned for now but will be executed if there’s no progress in the weeks to come.

        • Police Hit ‘Criminal Network’ Behind Pirate IPTV Service & Investigate Customers

          Following raids across Germany carried out in the past several weeks, police say they have successfully shut down a pirate IPTV provider and identified 10 individuals connected to the service. Among the suspects is a 34-year-old that police believe to be the head of the operation. The service allegedly caused significant financial damages to broadcasters including Sky.

        • Join us at ‘The Future of Open’ Webinar on 9 November!

          In May this year, we announced that four working groups of the Creative Commons Copyright Platform would examine policy issues affecting the open ecosystem. For the past five months, they have worked vigorously to provide clearer articulation of the issues and consider possible solutions in four areas: 

“Facebook Whistleblowers” Aside, It Has Been a Dying Platform for Years, and It’s Mentally Perverting the Older Generation

Posted in Deception at 9:33 am by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

The Facebook Whistleblowers, as they are called, didn’t tell us much that we didn’t know already.

The platform is pure evil. It spies on people, and ignores extremists and political terrorists (like Trump’s January 6th “supporters”) in order to drive “engagement”.

Over time, it’s been getting worse. It’s certainly no wonder why young people are abandoning it.

They may not be primarily concerned with the spying or the manipulation.

If it’s true that they are just going to other Facebook platforms like Instagram, WhatApp, as well as the non-FB Snapchat, which is actually worse in some ways, then they aren’t learning the important lessons.

But, all things being aside for the moment, since Facebook was invaded by “Your Parents” and they started posting a bunch of racist crap, “We hate Biden!”, and “Gee, don’t you miss Trump even though he nearly destroyed our entire country and did the majority of that in just his last 9 months!”, their userbase on Facebook itself has been plummeting.

The remaining users are left going down a rabbit hole of increasing insanity as increasingly the only thing left are a bunch of self-important, entitled baby boomers, who are obviously going through their second childhood (I mean, when the police have to come out because you knocked someone’s teeth out over a “mask dispute”….), and don’t understand shit about science. (Vaccine “hesistancy”. AKA, I don’t know how this works, so instead of learning about how it works, I’ll decide to be ignorant and afraid instead!”)

All other things aside, and there are plenty of other things, do we really want to share a platform with right-wing terrorists and trolls who support Trump and are dumb enough to not only break the law, but take pictures of themselves doing it, admit everything on CNN, and then upload the evidence to Facebook?

Both of my parents voted for Trump and they were very “Hah! In your face!” about it, but they’re very weak now and don’t want to discuss the fact that he lost to Joe Biden, of all people. Even though Biden spent a lot of his Senate career doing things that they would have approved of had they actually paid any attention to it. He was behind the 1994 Crime Bill and he’s still fighting in court to deport asylum seekers under Trump’s made up “Title 42” nonsense.

CBP and ICE are as bad as they ever were under Trump. Why, just a few weeks ago, they were photographed on horseback whipping black people from Haiti at the border.

So not much has changed. To hear mom and dad, you’d think that Biden will turn us into a Communist country, even though the facts don’t support this either. It was Trump that signed the biggest corporate welfare bill ever (the CARES Act) and mollified the anger of those whom he caused to become unemployed with rent moratoriums, the illegal CDC eviction ban, and “extended unemployment checks”. Biden let the unemployment program expire, the eviction ban is gone, and the CARES Act and “American Rescue Plan” money turned into state slush funds for bread and circuses and new prisons.

But they won’t pay attention. Facebook has radicalized and mentally perverted and corrupted them both to the point of no return. We should feel sorry for both of them, and those like them.

Of course some, like my parents, were already sort of like this, but Facebook made them worse. It put them in a bubble and let them speak with people who were even more fit for a lunatic asylum than either of them were, and they started getting crazier and crazier ideas in their heads.

In an episode of Babylon 5, when the Narn (who have been oppressed by the Centauri) wanted revenge, G’Kar has to shout “No! They are a DYING PEOPLE! We should just let them pass.”

I suppose the same can be said of our parents, the boomers, at this point. They can’t be reasoned with. They live in an alternate reality with “alternative facts”, and they are very much on the way out. It’s up to us to salvage what we can when they’re no longer as much of a force.

[Meme] Microsoft Has Always Been About Control Over Others

Posted in Microsoft at 8:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft censors LinkedIn for China; Microsoft censors Free software community for Microsoft

Summary: Hosting by Microsoft means subjugation or a slavery-like relationship; contrary to the current media narrative, Microsoft has long been censoring LinkedIn for China’s autocratic regime; and over at GitHub, as we shall show for months to come, there’s a war on information, a war on women, and gross violations of the law

EFF Pushes for Users to Install DuckDuckGo Software After Being Paid to Kill HTTPS Everywhere

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Search at 7:50 am by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

DDG meme

I’ve been writing lately about how DuckDuckGo is shady and their business is questionable.

It seems that some donations went the EFF’s way and now they plan on killing off HTTP Everywhere permanently.

$25,000 a year buys them the Tor Project and $150,000 keeps the EFF in their back pocket. But where does the money for this come from, and what does DuckDuckGo get from it?

No company gives out millions of dollars a year and expects to get back nothing.

Is it just DuckDuckGo’s own advertising paying for this?

DuckDuckGo pretends they’re a startup, but that’s not true. They admit that they have been profitable since 2014, have over 105 million searches a day sometimes, and are growing rapidly.

They’re not small. They have very close ties with Microsoft, which also dumps money into these sorts of organizations in order to corrupt them and shield itself from criticism.

(Relatively speaking, the chump change that Microsoft pays off the “Linux Foundation” with corrupted and silenced that organization too.)

In fact, the number one factor in DuckDuckGo’s search results is what Microsoft Bing returns to DuckDuckGo.

So I think it can fairly be said that DuckDuckGo is a way for Microsoft to gain market share with people for whom the Microsoft brand itself is toxic, due to their many decades of law breaking, bad software, spyware, advertising network, and corrupt business practices.

Microsoft itself tries to get away from its own brands too, but even though Edge is named differently than Internet Explorer, and uses a different rendering engine now, they haven’t had much luck in getting people, on Windows, to use it.

This despite malware tactics to steal back default settings and scream at the user that Firefox and Chrome and the others “aren’t safe” (Oh, but Edge is? Well, pardon the hell out of me!). Not that this has stopped their shills from recommending it to people on GNU/Linux, who actually have a choice about what’s on their computers. (Hey, and it ain’t gonna be Edge!)

Anyway, it seems the corruption (the intended effect of DuckDuckGo’s money, which is potentially gleaned from *cough* some other source), is convincing the EFF to shut down its own security applications and pitch DuckDuckGo’s products instead.

DuckDuckGo used to have an application for Android that merely let you search it from your Home screen.

Now, the only app they make for Android is an entire web browser, where DuckDuckGo is in a position to monitor everything you do in it. It’s also not particularly convenient because there’s no desktop version of it to sync with.

But just last year, it was caught tracking its users, and they had an explanation for the tracking when they got caught, like they always seem to. “Just a bug.” Was it?

DuckDuckGo also has a Chrome and Firefox extension called “Privacy Essentials”, and the EFF is also recommending users move from HTTPS Everywhere to DuckDuckGo’s extension.

As HTTPS Everywhere goes into “maintenance mode”, users will have the opportunity to move to DuckDuckGo’s Privacy Essentials or use a browser that has HTTPS by default.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

But DuckDuckGo certainly isn’t a charity. They want all of this software on your computers for a reason, and if that reason was only to bolster their search engine, they’re already in every major web browser, and you can already use them for search that way.

They have other things to be gained from having more of a presence on your computer, or they wouldn’t be writing this stuff in the first place.

It would be better to have nothing of the sort installed on your computer than to replace HTTPS Everywhere with a DuckDuckGo application.

As the corrupt EFF itself points out, Chromium is moving in the direction of HTTPS by default, and Firefox today has an HTTPS-Only Mode (you can make exceptions), without stuffing this ducking nonsense into your computer and letting their “Whoops it’s another bug that lets us track you, but pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” position keep coming up.

(Note: I had to pull that Reddit post about Gabriel Weinberg out of the Internet Archive because Reddit, a platform for censorship from “Conde Nasty”, removed it. Reddit operates with bans and shadowbans and removes posts all the time.)

It’s unlikely that DuckDuckGo keeps getting caught violating their own privacy policy (and these are just the times they get caught) and that it’s “just bugs”. At this point, it is more likely that their privacy policy is bullshit and a lie.

The EFF has gone from being a good cause to not being worth a bag of beans in the span of a few short years.

The Reign in Spain

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum d45db422598047eafa235edcbc2acdf9

Summary: Discussion about the role of Spain in the EPO‘s autocratic regime which violates the rights of EPO staff, including Spanish workers

LAST night we published this thirteenth part of the series, this time dealing with Spain, a close neighbour of Benoît Battistelli‘s home country. António Campinos is Spain’s neighbour on both sides, as he’s both French and Portuguese.

Patricia García-Escudero and Benoît BattistelliSpain may not be so (in)famous for corruption, but what we find in its patent system is a pattern of nepotism and inappropriate political appointments, placing focus on party loyalty rather than suitable qualifications.

Tonight at around midnight (i.e. the usual) we shall publish the next part in the series, this time dealing with Portugal.

Spanish influence

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